• TABLE OF CONTENTS
HIDE
 Front Cover
 Abstract and foreword
 Table of Contents
 List of Tables
 Main
 Appendix






Group Title: Economic information report
Title: The Florida bedding plant industry
CITATION THUMBNAILS PAGE IMAGE ZOOMABLE
Full Citation
STANDARD VIEW MARC VIEW
Permanent Link: http://ufdc.ufl.edu/UF00026506/00001
 Material Information
Title: The Florida bedding plant industry
Series Title: Economic information report - University of Florida. Food and Resource Economics Dept. ; 115
Physical Description: iv, 28 p. : ; 27 cm.
Language: English
Creator: Smith, Cecil Nuckols, 1920-
Witte, Willard T. ( joint author )
Miller, Marvin N. ( joint author )
Publisher: Food and Resource Economics Dept., Agricultural Experiment Stations and Cooperative Extension Service, Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences, University of Florida
Place of Publication: Gainesville
Publication Date: 1979
Copyright Date: 1979
 Subjects
Subject: Bedding plant industry -- Florida   ( lcsh )
Genre: government publication (state, provincial, terriorial, dependent)   ( marcgt )
bibliography   ( marcgt )
non-fiction   ( marcgt )
 Notes
Statement of Responsibility: Cecil N. Smith, Willard T. Witte, Marvin N. Miller.
Bibliography: Bibliography: p. 20.
General Note: Cover title.
 Record Information
Bibliographic ID: UF00026506
Volume ID: VID00001
Source Institution: University of Florida
Holding Location: University of Florida
Rights Management: All rights reserved by the source institution and holding location.
Resource Identifier: notis - ABT9864
alephbibnum - 000313133
oclc - 08032149
lccn - 79626128

Table of Contents
    Front Cover
        Front Cover
    Abstract and foreword
        Page i
    Table of Contents
        Page ii
    List of Tables
        Page iii
        Page iv
    Main
        Page 1
        Page 2
        Page 3
        Page 4
        Page 5
        Page 6
        Page 7
        Page 8
        Page 9
        Page 10
        Page 11
        Page 12
        Page 13
        Page 14
        Page 15
        Page 16
        Page 17
        Page 18
        Page 19
        Page 20
    Appendix
        Page 21
        Page 22
        Page 23
        Page 24
        Page 25
        Page 26
        Page 27
Full Text
C cil N. Smith


C.,'


Willard T. Witte Report 115
Marvin N. Miller



The Florida
Bedding Plant Industry


Food and Resource Economics Department
Agricultural Experiment Stations and
Cooperative Extension Service
Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences
University of Florida, Gainesville


July 1979


i-p


Economic Information

















ABSTRACT


Bedding plants constitute an increasingly important segment of Florida's
complex of ornamental industries. A survey of traditional bedding plant
growers showed more than 33 acres in the culture of these plants in 1975.
Sales were estimated at $2.6 million in 1975, with a USDA report showing a
rise to a $4 million level in 1978. Fall and spring are the major marketing
seasons for Florida bedding plants. The major outlets to which products are
marketed were (1) chain and department stores and (2) garden centers and
retail nurseries.

Key words: Bedding plants; bedding plants--Florida; marketing bedding
plants.



FOREWORD


Appreciation is expressed to the bedding plant growers who made their

records available for use in the study reported here. Thanks are extended

to Dr. Fawzi A. Taha who, while serving as interim field assistant, collected
most of the data which are analyzed in this report.







TABLE OF CONTENTS


Page


ABSTRACT . . . . . . .


FOREWORD . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

TABLE OF CONTENTS . . . . . . . . . . .

LIST OF TABLES . . . . . . . . . . . .

LIST OF APPENDIX TABLES. . . . . . . . . .

INTRODUCTION .. . . . . . . . . . . .

NATURE OF THE BEDDING PLANT BUSINESS . . . .. . .

Production Area . . . . . . . . . . .
Trends in Sales . . . . . . . . . . .

GROWER CHARACTERISTICS . . ... . . . . . ..


Growing Area . .
Product Mix . .
Plant Containers. .
Plant Production


by Flat


ii

iii


Size.


PRODUCTION INPUTS. . . . . . .


Expenses. . . . . . .
Structures. . ... . . .
Equipment . . . . . .
Media . . . . . . .
Soil Sterilization. . . .
Seed Procurement. . . . .
Labor . . . . . . .
Personnel Policies . . .
Length of Service of Labor
Promotion Schedules. . .
Fringe Benefits. . . .


MARKETING PRACTICES. . . . . . .

Marketing Season. . . . . . .
Market Outlets. . . . . . . .
Prices. . . . . . .. . .
Distribution Area . . . . . .
Competition . . . . . . . .
Marketing Problems. . . . . . .
Transportation Practices. . . . .
Dumping . . . . . . . . .


. i






TABLE OF CONTENTS (Continued)


Page

Market Expansion. . . . . . . . .... . 17
Promotional Activities. . . . . . . . ... 19

SUMMARY. . . . . . . . . ... . . .... 19

BIBLIOGRAPHY . . . . . . . . ... . . . 20

APPENDIX . . . . . . . . ... . . ... . 21

THE U.S. BEDDING PLANT INDUSTRY. . . . . . . ... 22


LIST OF TABLES


Number Page

1 Area devoted to the culture of bedding plants in
Florida, 1975 . . . . . . . . ... .. 3

2 Estimated sales of Florida growers producing traditional
bedding plants, 1971 to 1978 . . . . . . 4

3 Estimated product group sales mix of traditional bedding
plant growers in Florida, 1974.-.. .. . . . .. 6

4 Volume of potted plants, by sizes, reported sold by
Florida bedding plant producers, 1974 . ... . .... 7

5 Number of plants produced in various sizes of flats by
traditional bedding plant producers in Florida, 1974. 8

6 Selected expenditures by Florida firms selling tradi-
tional bedding plants, 1975 . . . . . . . 9

7 Equipment used by selected traditional bedding plant
growers in Florida, 1974. . . . . . . ... 10

8 Soil media utilized by traditional bedding plant growers
in Florida, 1975. . . . . . . . . ... 11

9 Labor utilized by traditional bedding plant growers in
Florida, 1974 . . . . . . . . .... 13

10 Market outlets to which traditional Florida bedding
plant growers sold their output, 1974 . .. . . 15

11 Average prices for sales of bedding plants, pots, and
hanging baskets by Florida bedding plant growers, 1974. 16







LIST OF TABLES (Continued)


Number Page

12 Responses to question, "Do you work with any of the
following to encourage sales expansion?" by 19 Florida
bedding plant growers, 1975 . . . . . . .. 18


LIST OF APPENDIX TABLES



Al Value of sales of all traditional bedding plants
(flowering and vegetable) by growers in 25 states, 1976,
1977, and 1978. . . . . . . . .... .23

A2 Flats sold, average wholesale price, and value of sales
at wholesale of flowering and foliar types of bedding
plant sold in selected states, 1976, 1977, and 1978 . 25

A3 Number of producers, production area and average sales,
at wholesale prices, per producer and per unit of pro-
duction area, of flowering and foliar bedding plants
sold in selected states, 1976, 1977,and 1978. ... .26

A4 Number of producers, production area, and average sales,
at wholesale prices, per producer and per unit of pro-
duction area, of vegetable bedding plants sold in se-
lected states, 1976, 1977, and 1978 ... . . . 27

A5 Flats soldaverage wholesale price, and value of sales
at wholesale of vegetable types of bedding plants sold
in selected states, 1976, 1977, and 1978. . ... 28














THE FLORIDA BEDDING PLANT INDUSTRY


Cecil N. Smith, Willard T. Witte, and Marvin N. Miller


INTRODUCTION


Relatively little is known about the economic characteristics of the

bedding plant segment of Florida's fast-growing ornamentals industry.
Bedding plant growers propagate and sell flower, foliar (coleus, caladium,
etc.), and vegetable plants used by homeowners and others for beautifying
the landscape and for producing vegetables in home gardens.
This publication relates to economic activities of "traditional"

bedding plant growers and not to growers who use the "Speedling" or related
systems to produce seedling plants for use in commercial vegetable produc-
tion. Information obtained from a group of growers of containerized veg-
etable transplants utilized in commercial production of truck crops is not
reported in this publication.
Following requests by bedding plant growers in Florida for information
on marketing practices, extent of the industry, resources used in production,
and related economic factors, a list of all known commercial bedding plant
growers in Florida was compiled in 1975. Visits were later made to commer-
cial growers and data on economic aspects of the industry were recorded on
survey forms. Several small growers could not be contacted or failed to
cooperate; the estimates presented exclude data on their operations.
Data were tabulated and estimates made for value of sales, area in
production, product mix, production expenses, and other attributes of



CECIL N. SMITH is professor of food and resource economics. WILLARD T.
WITTE, now associate professor of ornamental horticulture at the University
of Tennessee, was formerly assistant professor of ornamental horticulture.
MARVIN N. MILLER is graduate research assistant in food and resource economics.











Florida bedding plant growers. A preliminary report of findings was made

in an earlier paper [3].
Beginning with the year 1976, the Crop Reporting Service of the U.S.
Department of Agriculture began acquisition, publication, and analysis of

data on area in production, number of producers, flats sold, average whole-
sale price, and value of sales at wholesale of (1) flowering and foliar and
(2) vegetable bedding plants in 25 states. Comparative data for Florida and
certain other states are presented in the U.S.D.A. report. This informa-
tion is shown in summary form in the appendix to this report.


NATURE OF THE BEDDING PLANT BUSINESS


Bedding plant growers plan their operations to cater to a market which

is seasonal in nature. Planning involves acquisition and management of
the necessary seeds, soil mixes, watering apparatus, structures, equipment,
and labor. Skilled management is necessary in planning and carrying out

the manifold tasks involved in propagating bedding plants,growing them until
ready for market, and then selling them.
Growers in Florida vary in size from one or two person operations to

firms which employ 50 or more workers. The mix of plants grown and sold,
the outlets to which they are marketed, the types of growing structures
utilized, personnel practices in hiring labor, and many other practices vary

greatly from grower to grower.


Production Area


More than 1,456,000 square feet--more than 33 acres--were devoted to the
culture of traditional bedding plants in Florida in 1975 (Table 1). Some

37 percent consisted of open growing area (the major portion) or utilities,
which include offices, machine sheds, shops, showroom and display areas,
roadways, and soil mixing, storage, and related areas.











Table l.--Area devoted to the culture of bedding plants in Florida, 1975

Area
Type
% of
Sq. ft. Acres o
total

----------No.----------

Open growing area,
utilities, etc. 534,898 12.3 36.7
Fiberglass 440,955 10.1 30.3
Polyethylene 259,990 5.9 17.9
Lath 93,420 2.1 6.4
Saran 76,790 1.8 5.3
Cold frame 36,390 0.8 2.5
Glass 13,600 0.3 0.9
1,456,043 33.3 100.0


a
Includes offices, machine sheds, shops, showroom
roadways, and soil mixing, storage, and related areas.


and display areas,


Trends in Sales


Sales of traditional bedding plants by Florida growers rose from an

estimated $1,359,000 in 1971 to $2,611,500 in 1975 and then to a level

exceeding $4 million in 1977 (Table 2). Data for the first five years

were generated in the research study reported here, with the estimates for

1976, 1977, and 1978 coming from the Crop Reporting Service of the U.S.

Department of Agriculture. Although the concepts in making the estimates

were essentially the same, there may be differences in the two series due

to variations in methods of data collection, definitions, and other factors.

For example, potted plants were included in overall sales in the University

of Florida study.
In order to show the actual growth pattern of the Florida bedding

plant industry with the effect of inflation removed, the sales data were

converted into terms of 1978 dollars. The growth rate from one year to

another is also presented in terms of constant dollars. Despite growth


1
Names of operators and data supplied by cooperators to the Crop Re-
porting Service are not made available to university researchers or other
agencies and individuals.










Table 2.--Estimated sales of Florida growers producing traditional bedding
plants, 1971 to 1978a

Adjusted

Year Actual Index Change in
Value (1971-75 sales
avg. = 100)

---------Dollars---------- No. Percent

1971 1,359,400 2,499,000 89 --
1972 1,476,800 2,595,000 93 4
1973 1,672,900 2,598,000 93 c
1974 2,455,000 3,209,000 114 24
1975 2,611,500 3,124,000 111 -3


1976 2,428,000 3,209,000 114 3
1977d 2,225,000 2,398,000 85 -25
1978 4,049,000 4,049,000 144 69


a
1971 to 1975 estimates made from University of Florida study; 1976,
1977, and 1978 data from U.S. Department of Agriculture [41.
b
In terms of 1978 dollars, with the sales value each year adjusted by
the Index of Producer Prices (All Commodities) with 1978 = 100. (This was
formerly known as the Index of Wholesale Prices.)
c
Less than 1 percent.
d
Data presented are the sum of sales of (1) flowering and foliar and
(2) vegetable bedding plants.


in constant dollars over the eight-year period of 62 percent, year to year

changes ranged from -25 to 69 percent.


GROWER CHARACTERISTICS


Widespread differences in ownership characterized traditional bedding

plant enterprises in Florida. Larger producers tended to be organized as

corporations and smaller producers as proprietorships or partnerships.

However, only two of the 19 businesses were in the last category. Most

firms were involved in an additional business other than bedding plants.

Most such involvement was related to ornamental horticulture production and/
or sales.










The average grower spent roughly 55 percent of his time raising bedding
plants. Some growers produced bedding plants only in their spare time while
several operators worked full-time the year round in this endeavor. About
half of the growers, previous to their entry into the bedding plant business,

had been connected with firms that dealt with ornamental horticulture.


Growing Area


In 1975 Florida had 1,456,000 square feet--more than 33 acres--devoted
to the production of bedding plants. The largest single category of this

space was open area (used primarily for growing purposes), followed by

fiberglass structures, polyethylene structures, lathhouses, saranhouses, cold
frames, and glasshouses (Table 1, p. 3). In addition, growers reported
another acre in utility, office, shop, storage, and soil mix areas.
In recent years (prior to 1975), additional areas were constructed
in fiberglass, polyethylene, and saranhouses. Additional expansion had also

taken place in open growing areas. The recent expansion, i.e., within the

last year prior to the 1975 survey, had amounted to 4.8 acres. This con-
stituted 14.6 percent of the 1975 production space.
At the time of the survey, an expansion of about 1.5 acres had already
been planned for the following year in fiberglass, saran, and polyethylene
structures. This represented an increase of about 4.6 percent of 1975

acreage.
Information for 1976 and 1977 on the growing area as well as other char-
acteristics of the flower and foliar and also the traditional vegetable
segments of the bedding plant industry, not only in Florida, but also else-
where in the nation, is contained in the appendix. The Crop Reporting
Service breaks data down into (1) flowering and foliar and (2) vegetable

bedding plants.


Product Mix


Although chiefly producers of flowering bedding plants, the 19 Florida

firms also produced some vegetable bedding plants, ferns, and other products.
Flowers and flowering plants made up over half of the value of plants sold










by Florida bedding plant growers in 1974 (Table 3). Vegetables accounted

for more than a third with the remainder allocated among ferns, hanging

baskets, and potted plants.


Table 3.--Estimated product group sales mix of traditional bedding plant
growers in Florida, 1974

Product Value

Dollars Percent
Flowers 1,363,000 55.5
Vegetables 901,000 36.7
Ferns 100,000 4.1
Hanging baskets 42,000 1.7
Potted plants 49,000 2.0

Total 2,455,000 100.0



Although no breakdown of the kinds of different plants produced was
obtained, it is of interest to note that flowering bedding plants include

celosia, geraniums, gerbera daisy, impatiens, marigold, petunia, salvia,

snapdragon, and others. Foliar plants include asparagus fern, alternanthera,
caladium, coleus, dusty miller, and others. (In this study flowering and

foliar plants are included together as "flowers" or "flowering bedding

plants.") Vegetable types embrace broccoli, cabbage, cauliflower, herbs,

pepper, tomatoes, etc.


Plant Containers


Plastic flats and cell-packs were the largest single container types

used in producing and marketing bedding plants in Florida. Seventeen of the

19 growers reported some use of plastic flats; however, most of the product

was marketed in cell-packs. Cell-packs, in which plants are grown in sep-

arated cells divided into units of six or some other number, are commonly used

in conjunction with plastic flats. Some growers used market-packs, i.e.,
small community containers similar in size to the cell-pack except that

individual "cells" for each plant are absent. Three-fourths of the growers

also reported some plants marketed in pots.










There was no definite preference among growers for number of plants

per flat. Numbers from 12 plants per flat through 72 plants per flat were

used; however, many growers opted for the latter. In this survey, eight
of the 19 growers reported use of 72s with six firms using 48s. Over half
of the flats produced by these firms were 72s, while over 17 percent were
48s.

Ten of the firms surveyed also produced some hanging baskets. Hanging

basket production was limited as only 23,000 baskets were reported.
Potted plant production was reported by 15 of the 19 growers. More than

200,000 four-inch pots were raisedwhile over 100,000 smaller ports were pro-
duced (Table 4). Five-to-six inch potted plants were also grown (53,700

pots reported).


Table 4.--Volume of potted plants, by sizes, reported sold by
plant producers, 1974


Florida bedding


Size Growers Pots sold

In. No. No. Percent

2 2 10,000 2.7
3-3 1/2 7 91,800 25.2
4 9 209,400 57.4
5-6 7 53,700 14.7
Larger 1 N.A.

Total -- 364,900 100.0


Some bulk sales of vegetable plants, in which no flats or

tainers were used, were also reported.


other con-


Plant Production by Flat Size


Nearly 37 million plants were reported grown by Florida bedding plant

producers in 1974 (Table 5). The vast majority of these plants were pro-
duced in the 72-cell flat, i.e., in each plastic flat (ca. 11" x 22")
containing 12 packs of six cells each in which individual plants were grown.











Table 5.--Number of plants produced in various sizes of flats by traditional
bedding plant producers in Florida, 1974

Plants per flat Flats produced Plants produced

No. Percent No. Percent

12 7,500 1.2 90,000 0.2
18 1,133 0.2 20,394 0.1
24 15,133 2.5 363,192 1.0
32 4,333 0.7 138,656 0.4
36 56,000 9.1 2,016,000 5.5

42 6,000 1.0 252,000 0.7
48 104,833 17.1 5,031,984 13.6
55 2,000 0.3 110,000 0.3
60 30,000 4.9 1,800,000 4.9
72 386,200 63.0 27,086,400 73.4

Total 613,132 100.0 36,908,626 100.0



While 63 percent of the number of flats produced consisted of the 72-

size, 73 percent of the total number of bedding plants sold were grown in

this size. Only three other sizes--the 48 (8 x 6 or 12 x 4), 36 (6 x 6),

and 60 (10 x 6)--accounted for as much as 5 percent of the number of bedding

plant flats marketed in 1974. The remaining six flat sizes for which grower
sales were reported accounted for less than 3,percent of the plants sold.


PRODUCTION INPUTS


Expenses


Labor represented the largest single expense for growers, with this

item costing 15.7 percent of sales (Table 6). Flats, packs, and other con-

tainers (not counting pots) followed at 8.7 percent of gross sales dollars.
Soil media and seed were next in order, with 3.9 percent and 3.8 percent of

sales, respectively. Other costs items each represented 2.2 percent or less

of gross sales.
Industry averages showed that larger growers (sales of $100,000 or more)

typically experienced costs two to three times those of the smaller growers
for each expense category. This was not the case, however, for pottery and

water expenses. More of the smaller growers specialized in sales of potted










Table 6.--Selected expenditures by Florida firms selling traditional bedding
plants, 1975


Avg. expenditures per firm
Item Industry expenditures
Firms with sales of
All firms
less than $100,000

% of total
Dollars sales Dollars Dollars

Labor 390,188 15.7 20,536 10,121
Flats, packs, etc. 216,798 8.7 11,410 2,569
Soil media 96,543 3.9 5,081 3,008
Seeds 94,688 3.8 4,984 2,177
Depreciation 55,962 2.2 2,945 1,707

Pots 51,610 2.1 2,716 2,855
Labels 33,725 1.4 1,775 296
Fertilizer 25,265 1.0 1,330 570
Electricity 24,852 1.0 1,308 352
Pesticides 19,287 0.8 1,015 162

Heating 12,275 0.5 646 231
Fumigants 2,852 0.1 150 73
Water 255 a 13 20
Miscellaneous 31,735 1.3 1,670 1,901


a
Less than 0.1 percent.
b
Totals are not shown as
survey.


not all items of expense were included in the


plants than larger growers. Some of the smaller growers (about 15.4 percent

of them) relied on public water sources and therefore incurred charges while

larger growers typically depended on internal sources of supply from wells.

The average grower spent 42.5 percent of his sales dollars on these ex-

penses. Larger growers were much more cost efficient as they averaged only

36.6 percent of sales for these expenses while smaller growers allocated

64.1 percent of sales income for these expenses.


Structures


The most prevalent structures utilized in bedding plant culture were

fiberglass, polyethylene, lath, and saran (Table 1, p. 3). Of the 921,000

square feet--21 acres--in various types of structures for bedding plants,

nearly half were of fiberglass. Polyethylene made up 29 percent of the









structures and lath and saran 10 and 8 percent, respectively. The remainder

consisted of cold frames and glass structures.


Equipment


The number and types of equipment used in the industry vary greatly.

The only item.of equipment that all growers had in common was a sprayer,

with 1.9 units being the average utilized (Table 7).


Table 7.--Equipment used by
Florida, 1974


selected traditional bedding plant growers in


Avg. units by
Item of equipment Total firms using using firms
using firms

No. No.
Sprayer 19 1.9
Truck/van 18 2.1
Pump 17 2.2
Trailer/cart 15 5.0
Tractor 14 2.1
Front-end loader 7 1.0
Fertilizer injector 7 1.7
Concrete mixer 6 1.2
Soil mixer 6 1.0
Elevator/conveyor 3 2.0

Pot/flat filler 3 1.0
Fork lift 2 5.0
Soil handling equipment 1 1.0



Trucks or vans (usually for delivery) were reported by 18 of the firms

surveyed. There was an average of 2.1 units per firm.
Pumps were reported by 17 of the firms studied. With an average of

3.8 horsepower, 2.2 pumps were utilized in the typical bedding plant op-
eration. Fertilizer injection systems and water supply were the chief

uses of the pumps.

Fifteen firms reported the use of trailers or carts. Of the firms

using this equipment, the average firm had five. This was biased, however,

as the larger producers had a much heavier reliance on carts and trailers.
Excluding the larger producers, the average firm used just over two carts

and/or trailers.




11




The other largely used piece of equipment was the tractor. Fourteen firms

reported using 29 tractors, giving an average use of just over two tractors

per firm.


Media



Growers were by and large using soilless mixes for their bedding plants

(Table 8). While over half of the growers were preparing these mixes on

the premises, about a third were using commercially prepared (premixed) mixes

which contained no soil. A few growers used topsoil mixes.


Table 8.-- Soil media utilized by traditional bedding plant growers in
Florida, 1975


Type mix or media Growers using
a
Percent

Type mix

Premix 31
Soilless mixc 53
Topsoil mix 16
No response 5

Type media
Peat 53
Commercial 32
Perlite 21
Sand 21
Sawdust 16

Vermiculite 11
Manure 5
No response 16


percentages do not add to 100 because growers may be using more than
one type of mix or medium.

bPremix is considered here as a commercially prepared mix purchased
from a supplier. It may or may not contain soil.

CSoilless mix is considered here as a mix with no soil prepared on
the premises.

dTopsoil mix is considered here as a mix with some soil prepared on
the premises.









Over half of the growers used some peat in their mix. Other substances
used include perlite, sand, sawdust, vermiculite, and soil. One grower

reported using some manure.


Soil Sterilization


Growers in the survey varied greatly in the methods utilized for ster-
ilizing growing media. Five growers reported the use of chemical sterilants;

two used raw steam and one aereated steam. Although several growers still
used electric cookers for soil sterilization, some had turned to other
methods because of the increasing cost of electricity. Several growers
mentioned that no sterilization was used and/or needed because the media
in use was naturally sterilized or was sterilized by the manufacturer.
Still others reported the use of fungicidal drenches.


Seed Procurement


Thirteen of the 19 growers in the survey reported bulk seed purchases.
An equal number reported seed purchases in small lots; hence some growers
purchased seed in both manners. Growers who normally purchase in bulk are

sometimes forced to buy in small quantities if shortages occur or when they
need to obtain small lots of specific varieties. Several growers reported
trouble in obtaining seeds of specific varieties in any amount. This
problem was often noted for petunia varieties.
Three-fourths of the growers reported a need for some seed storage.
Refrigerators or coolers were the most common seed storage location reported

for 11 of the 19 growers. Six purchased seeds only in the planting season
whereas two kept the seeds in an air conditioned house.


Labor


The equivalent of 180 man-years was devoted to the culture and mar-

keting of bedding plants in Florida in 1974 (Table 9). Of this quantity,



Soil sterilization is a term commonly used in the bedding plant and
related industries for what is in actuality a soil pasteurization process.










Table 9.--Labor utilized by traditional bedding plant growers in Florida,
1974

Type labor Time employed

Workers Man-months Man-years

No. No. No.
Full-time hired 138 1,390.5 115.9
Part-time hired 83 613.5 51.1
Owner or manager 14.5 105.5 8.8
Unpaid family 10 56.0 4.7
Total 245.5 2,165.5 180.5

aIncluding foreman.



nearly two-thirds consisted of full-time hired labor; more than a fourth

was part-time hired workers. The remaining 7 percent of the time worked
consisted of contributions by owners or managers and unpaid family labor.


Personnel Policies


Length of Service of Labor.--Seven growers noted that all their em-

ployees had been with them for two or more years. Five reported 25 percent
or fewer of their employees as having been on the job for this length of
time. Approximately half of all the full-time workers had been with their
employers for two or more years. Some employers stated that, due to local
labor supply and demand conditions, it was necessary to provide higher

wages or fringe benefits in order to attract and retain good workers.
Promotion Schedules.--Five of the 19 bedding plant firms--for the most
part the largest ones--had promotion schedules for their employees. These
had various provisions:
"Raise wages to keep good workers."

"Raise wages if a good job is done.
"According to production."
"Evaluate at end of 90 days and raise wages if satisfactory; also,
at end of year."

"After trial period, give two automatic promotions, with further
adjustments based on merit."









Fringe Benefits.--Among the fringe benefits provided workers of

bedding plant firms were paid vacations, accident and health insurance,

profit sharing, and bonuses.

Of the 19 firms surveyed, the number providing various fringe benefits
was as follows:

Paid vacations 9

Accident and health insurance 5
Profit sharing 2

Bonuses 4


MARKETING PRACTICES


Marketing Season


Fall and spring are the major marketing seasons for Florida bedding

plants. The following are the approximate amounts of Florida-grown bedding
plants marketed in various seasons: fall--35 percent; winter--20 percent;
and spring--45 percent. This pattern sets Florida apart from most of the

rest of the country. However, the seasonal sales pattern of sales in

north Florida resembles that of the rest of the country more than that in

central and south Florida.
Substantial variation occurs between growers in their marketing

patterns. Three growers marketed no plants in the fall, but all sold plants
during a portion of the winter, with the winter-spring period being one

marketing season. Four growers marketed plants in the summer, with pro-

portions of yearly sales ranging from 5 to 10 percent.


Market Outlets


The two major outlets of traditional bedding plant growers in Florida

were (1) chain and department stores and (2) garden centers and retail

nurseries. Each of these purchased approximately 40 percent of the bedding

plants sold by Florida growers in 1974 (Table 10).
The next two most important outlets were hardware stores and other

growers. Each of these accounted for 6 percent of all sales made by growers.











Table 10.--Market outlets to which traditional Florida bedding plant
growers sold their output, 1974

Outlet Proportion of total sales

Percent

Chain and department stores 40.4
Garden centers and retail nurseries 38.9
Hardware stores 6.1
Other growers 5.9
Jobbers 1.0

Contract buyers 0.7
Florists' shops 0.4
Agents 0.2
Grocery stores 0.2
Other 5.8
Total 100.0




Jobbers and contract buyers each purchased 1 percent of growers'

bedding plant supplies. Agents and grocery stores each bought less than a

half of 1 percent of the industry output.


Prices



When analyzing price data it is essential to remember that the data

collected refer to the entire mix of all sizes of flats and not to any

standard size. The data presented in Table 11 should be used only as a general

gauge, noting that the average price data do not reflect plant numbers,

sizes, quality, or varietal differences.


Distribution Area



Most Florida bedding plant growers distribute their product within the

bounds of the metropolitan areas in which they are located or to market

areas within a radius of 50 to 75 miles from their production facilities.

A few of the larger growers make sales to buyers in the Atlanta area, other

points in the Southeast, and to markets as far distant as Texas and Ohio.










Table ll.--Average prices for sales of bedding plants, pots, and hanging
baskets by Florida bedding plant growers, 1974

Content Price
Type container or size
Median Average

Dollars Dollars
Flats Flowers 3.60 3.54
Vegetables 3.50 3.34
Ferns 5.15 6.97
Pots 2" .15
3"-3 1/2" .28
4" .59
5"-6" 1.40

Hanging baskets 6" 1.70
8" 2.90
All 3.42



Competition


Small and medium-sized growers reported competition in most areas of
Florida from larger in-state bedding plant producers who distribute their

bedding plants throughout many of the states's markets. Also, in certain

areas, competition came from bedding plant growers located in other states.
Many of the smaller and medium-sized growers reported that their prices
were higher than those of the distant larger competitors who marketed
plants in their local areas, but that they managed to sell their plants and
retain customer goodwill due to high quality plants and service to buyers.

Overall, the average grower interviewed in the survey marketed $130,982
in merchandise in 1974. If sales of the six largest growers are excluded,
the average grower marketed $49,612 in merchandise.


Marketing Problems


The bedding plant growers interviewed were asked the question, "What
do you feel are the major problems in.servicing your market?"










A listing of the responses made to the query follows:

No. growers Responses

4 Heavy traffic slows down deliveries
4 No marketing problem if you have good quality
3 Rising costs of inputs, especially gasoline
2 Competition tough; prices too cheap
1 Slow driver

1 Shelves sometimes fall off in transit
1 Plants fail to arrive in good condition
1 It takes too much time to get plants inspected on
delivery
1 Buyers need education so as to know more about
plants and seasons
1 Need competent employees

1 Too much competition from chain stores
1 Plants have to be dumped because grower has to keep
them rather than customer


Transportation Practices


Nearly 87 percent of the value of traditional bedding plants grown in

Florida in 1974 was shipped in growers' trucks. Most growers run delivery

routes in which they carry plants to their customers. Buyers' trucks hauled

11 percent, with the remaining 2 percent transported by hired trucks.


Dumping


The average amount of flower bedding plants produced which were dumped

by the 19 growers was 6.4 percent. However, the range reported varied from

none by two growers to as much as 25 percent by one operator. Two other

growers reported the proportion dumped as 10 percent or more.
Dumping of vegetable plants on the average was a percentage point less,

with 5.4 percent of the overall supply being dumped. Three growers reported

no dumping of vegetables; three reported dumping of 10 percent or more.


Market Expansion



Of 19 traditional Florida bedding plant growers responding to the

question, "Do you work with any of the following to encourage sales expan-
sion?", 53 percent reported working with extension agents and 47 percent










with garden clubs (Table 12). Newspaper garden editors, civic groups, and

television garden broadcasters were next in importance.


Table 12.--Responses to question, "Do you work with any of the following
to encourage sales expansion?" by 19 Florida bedding plant
growers, 1975

Agencies or Proportion
"Yes" responses reporting a
groups reporting

No. Percent
Extension agents 10 53
Garden clubs 9 47
Newspaper garden editors 7 37
Civic groups 4 21
Television garden broadcasters 3 16

Financial institutions 1 5
4-H, FFA, other school groups 1 5
Garden authors (books) 1 5
Radio announcers 1 5

aOf 19 growers, five (26 percent) reported no type of activity to
encourage sales expansion. Some growers reported two or more types of
promotion activity; thus the total of the proportion reporting exceeds
100 percent.


The number of growers who worked with financial institutions, school

groups (4-H, F.F.A., etc.), authors of garden books, and radio announcers
in efforts to expand sales of bedding plants was one in each instance. Five

growers--26 percent of the total--noted that they worked with none of
these groups in sales expansion efforts.
It should be recognized that the market expansion activities carried

out by growers may vary greatly in their relations with one type of agency
or group in comparison with another. Too, one grower may cooperate or

utilize an agency differently from another.
In designing the questionnaire utilized in the study it was visualized

that the inclusion of extension agents as an agency or group working with
growers to expand markets would relate to that function alone and not to

the function of education. However, it is believed that some growers
delineating extension agents as involved in sales expansion may have thought
in terms of their overall educational effort rather than that of efforts to

expand the value of product marketing.









Promotional Activities


When asked the open end question, "What do you do to promote consumer

interest and sales expansion?", a variety of responses ensued. They ranged

from growing quality plants to garden club visits to making brochures and
booklets available to customers.

Reponses included the following:

1. Grow quality plants
2. Try to have new varieties
3. Make model ads
4. Assist regular customers with newspaper ads
5. Run ads in papers in season
6. Quality control
7. Visit garden clubs and be on program
8. Share poster with seed company and distribute
9. Replace "young lost plants with new plants"
10. Provide a good delivery service
11. Advertise free counseling to buyers of all phases of growing
bedding plants
12. Make brochures and booklets about bedding plants available
to customers


SUMMARY


Bedding plants constitute an increasingly important segment of Florida's

vast ornamental horticulture industries. An economic study was made in
1975 to ascertain various economic characteristics, including extent of the

industry, resources used in production, marketing practices, and related
factors.
Nearly 1.5 million square feet--more than 33 acres--of land were devoted

to the culture of traditional bedding plants in Florida in 1975. Nearly
a third of this area was in fiberglass structures and almost 18 percent
under polyethylene cover. Sales were estimated at $2.6 million in 1975; a
USDA report indicated a level in excess of $4 million in 1977.
Of the 613,000 flats produced in 1974, the 72-plant flat size was the

most popular. That size accounted for 63 percent of the number of flats

and 73 percent of all plants produced.
Labor, with 180 man years used in bedding plant culture and marketing

in 1974, represented the largest single expense item for growers. Labor
costs amounted to 16 percent of sales. Items of equipment in most common









usage were sprayers, trucks or vans, pumps, trailers or carts, and tractors.
Growers are generally using soilless mixes as growing media.

Fall and spring are the primary marketing seasons for Florida bedding
plants. The approximate volumes marketed in various seasons were as follows:
fall--35 percent; winter--20 percent; and spring--45 percent.

The major outlets to which traditional bedding plant growers in Florida
marketed their products were (1) chain and department stores and (2) garden
centers and retail nurseries. Each type of outlet purchased approximately

40 percent of the bedding plants sold by growers in 1974.

Most growers distributed their products within the bounds of the metro-
politan areas in which they were located or to market areas within a radius
of 50 to 75 miles from their production facilities. A few of the larger
growers made sales to buyers in the Southeast and Midwest.

Nearly 75 percent of Florida bedding plants (in terms of value) was
shipped in growers' trucks. The remainder was shipped in buyers' trucks and
hired trucks.

With opportunities to expand business, growers are carrying out various
promotion and other market expansion activities to achieve higher sales and

profits. Available evidence indicated that larger firms were both relatively
more efficient and profitable than firms with less than $100,000 in annual
sales.


BIBLIOGRAPHY


[1] Jarvesoo, Elmar. "Economic Importance of the Bedding Plant Industry
in the Bedding Plant Industry in the Northeast." Paper pre-
sented at Northeast Regional Meeting of the American Society
for Horticultural Science, Amherst, MA, 23 Jan. 1976, pp. 6.

[2] Smith, Cecil N. "The Southern Bedding Plant Industry," Proceedings
of SNA Research Conference 23 (1978). McMinnville, TN:
pp. 133-138.

[3] Smith, Cecil N., Will T. Witte, and Fawzi A. Taha. "Some Economic
Aspects of the Bedding Plant Enterprise in Florida," Proceedings
of the Florida State Horticultural Society 88 (1976), pp. 549-
551.

[4] U.S. Crop Reporting Board. Floriculture Crops: Production Area and
Sales, 1977 and 1978. Washington: U.S. Department of Agriculture,
Mar. 1979, pp. 27.









































APPENDIX















THE U.S. BEDDING PLANT INDUSTRY


As noted on page 3, the Crop Reporting Service of the U.S. Department
of Agriculture in 1976 began the acquisition, analysis, and publication of

data on the area in production, number of producers, flats sold, average
wholesale price, and value of sales at wholesale of (1) flowering and foliar
and (2) vegetable types of bedding plants in 25 selected states. Prior evi-
dence, from the U.S. Department of Commerce Special Census of Horticultural
Specialties and other sources, indicated that these 25 states accounted for
95 percent or more of the value of bedding plants marketed in the United
States.
Only six Southern states--Florida, Texas, Georgia, North Carolina,

Tennessee, and Virginia--are included in the group of states for which the
U.S. Department of Agriculture releases estimates on the production and
marketing of bedding plants. These six states in 1978 were reported to have
12 percent of the nation's producers., 12 percent of the production area,
12 percent of the flats sold, and 14 percent of the wholesale value of

flowering and foliar bedding plants.
Bedding plant growers in the United States4 in 1978 had sales of more

than $129 million (Table Al). This represented a 37 percent rise from sales
of $94 million in 1976. Of the $129 million in 1978, 75 percent consisted
of flowering and foliar plants and the remaining 25 percent of vegetable
types.
Although Texas and Florida ranked fifth and eighth in the nation in the

total value of bedding plant sales in 1978, the six Southern states for which
data were recorded accounted, as noted earlier, for only 14 percent of the

total. On the other hand, California had much higher bedding plant sales
than all six Southern states in 1977.



An earlier report of 1976 and 1977 developments is contained in [2].

4Jarvesoo [1] in.1976 reported on the economic importance of the bedding
plant industry in the Northeast.










Table Al.--Value of sales of all traditional bedding plants (flowering
and vegetable) by growers in 25 states, 1976, 1977, and 1978

Value of sales

1976 1977 1978


California
Michigan
Ohio
New York
Texas


Illinois
Pennsylvania
Florida
Wisconsin
North Carolina

Connecticut
Maryland
Massachusetts
Minnesota
Colorado

Washington
Missouri
Oregon
Virginia
New Jersey

Indiana
Tennessee
Georgia
Iowa
Kansas


Total


-----------------$1,00-------------

14,392 25,051 26,291
13,922 14,809 16,770
12,041 13,080 14,376
6,829 6,858 8,870
3,514 4,388 5,778


3,377
4,101
2,428
2,659
2,004

2,348
2,179
3,967
2,505
2,313

1,752
2,718
1,772
1,599
1,437

1,746
564
1,189
1,580
406


93,342


4,377
3,911
2,225
2,549
2,142

2,612
3,645
3,752
3,984
2,239

2,275
2,817
2,125
1,929
2,142

2,444
1,473
2,165
1,465
519


114,976


4,476
4,420
4,049
3,837
3,616
3,525
3,469
3,293
3,289
3,148

2,987
2,637
2,220
2,169
2,156

2,113
1,967
1,712
1,441
576


129,185


Source: Derived from [4].










Of the $97 million in sales of flowering and foliar types of bedding
plants in 1978, California was the leading state, followed by Michigan,
Ohio, New York, Texas, Illinois, and Florida (Tables A2 and A3). Wholesale
sales per producer averaged $217,000 in Florida compared with $370,000 in
California and $36,000 in the nation. No other state had average sales
per producer in excess of $100,000.
The $6,040,000 of vegetable bedding plant sales (excluding field
grown vegetable transplants for use in commercial vegetable production)

in the South in 1977 made up 19 percent of the 25-state total marketing.
The 265 growers in the South were 11 percent of the national number re-
ported; average sales of $24,000 per grower for the six Southern states
were over 70 percent higher than the national figure of $14,000 (Tables A4
and A5).










Table A2.--Flats sold, average wholesale price, and value of sales at wholesale of flowering
and foliar types of bedding plants sold in selected states, 1976, 1977,and 1978

Value of sales
State Flats sold Wholesale price at wholesale

1976 1977 1978 1976 1977 1978 1976 1977 1978
------1,000 flats--- -------Dollars------ -------$1,000-------

Southern
Texas 500 578 743 4.40 3.90 4.83 2,200 2,254 3,589
Florida 532 740 813 3.18 2.34 3.73 1,693 1,732 3,032
North Carolina 343 350 633 3.70 3.95 4.12 1,269 1,383 2,608
Virginia 264 314 322 3.88 4.22 4.58 1,024 1,325 1,475
Georgia 239 487 339 3.54 3.53 3.80 846 1,719 1,288
Tennessee 103 235 283 3.54 3.75 4.45 364 881 1,259

Subtotal or avg. 1,981 2,704 3,133 3.58 3.46 4.23 7,397 9,294 13,251
Other leading states
California 1,833 5,985 5,884 4.11 3.33 3.65 7,534 19,930 21,477
Michigan 3,475 3,583 3,852 2.95 3.05 3.31 10,251 10,928 12,750
Ohio 2,683 2,961 3,410 3.23 3.25 3.29 8,666 9,623 11,219
New York 1,233 1,268 1,442 3.78 3.74 4.25 4,661 4,742 6,129
Illinois 803 758 811 3.08 4.46 4.14 2,473 3,381 3,358
Maryland 680 481 620 2.38 6.42 4.87 1,618 3,088 3,019

Subtotal or avg. 10,707 15,036 16,019 3.29 3.28 3.27 35,203 51,692 57,952

Other 13 states 5,921 6,045 6,121 3.36 3.88 5.41 20,300 23,473 25,608
U.S.--25 states 18,609 23,785 25,273 3.38 3.55 3.83 62,880 84,459 96,811


Source: [4].











Table A3.--Number of producers, production area and average sales, at wholesale prices, per producer


and per unit of production area, of flowering and
states, 1976, 1977 and 1978


foliar bedding plants sold in selected


Producers


I-


Production
area


Wholesale sales


Per
producer


Per sq. ft.
of area


_1976 1 1977 1978 1976 1977 19781 1976 1 1977 1978 1976 1977 1978


--------No.-------


1,000 sq. ft.


------$1,000------


------Dollars-----


Southern
Texas
Florida
Georgia
North Carolina
Virginia
Tennessee

Subtotal or
avg.

Other leading
states

California
Michigan
Ohio
New York
Illinois
Maryland

Subtotal or
avg.

Other 13 states
U.S.--25 states


38
15
95
102
42
50


1,262
1,801
453
547
474
169


1,550
1,110
956
578
531
458


1,200
992
544
1,053
575
507


79
100
11
14
28
13


59
115
18
14
32
18


76
217
20
29
37
25


.57
2.11
.88
2.32
2.80
2.16


1.45
1.55
1.80
2.39
2.50
1.92


2.99
3.06
2.37
2.47
2.57
2.48


283 342 309 3,706 5,183 4,871 26 30 43 2.00 1.79 2.72




30 54 58 2,567 6,593 7,755 251 369 370 2.93 3.02 2.77
285 336 319 6,380 5,854 6,651 36 33 40 1.61 1.87 1.92
356 316 300 4,419 4,493 5,938 24 30 37 1.96 2.14 1.89
331 353 354 1,992 2,002 2,357 14 13 17 2.34 2.37 2.60
116 81 124 1,457 1,585 1,448 21 42 27 1.70 2.13 2.32
51 53 52 1,188 796 768 32 58 58 1.36 3.88 3.93


1,169 1,193 1,207 18,003 21,323 24,917

1,140 1,182 1,160 10,212 10,672 11,536
2,592 2,717 2,676 31,922 37,178 41,324


30 43 43 1.96 2.07 2.33

18 20 22 1.99 2.42 2.22
24 31 36 1.96 2.27 2.34


Source: Derived from [4].


State


--









Table A4.--Number of producers, production area, and average sales, at wholesale prices, per producer
and per unit of production area, of vegetable bedding plants sold in selected states, 1976,
1977, and 1978

wholesale sales
State Producers Production Per Per sq. ft.
area producer of area
1976 1977 1978 1976 1977 1978 1976 1977 1978 1976 1977 1978
--------No ------- 1,000 sq. ft. ------$1,000------ ------Dollars-----

Southern
Florida 10 8 9 231 299 299 50 62 113 2.16 1.65 3.40
Tennessee 26 47 45 94 327 266 8 13 16 2.12 1.81 2.66
Texas 20 32 45 574 896 845 66 67 49 2.29 2.38 2.59
Virginia 36 39 38 280 273 283 16 15 18 2.05 2.21 2.45
North Carolina 89 99 71 308 330 423 8 8 14 2.39 2.30 2.38
Georgia 70 61 57 198 251 180 5 7 7 1.73 1.78 2.36
Subtotal or
avg. 251 286 265 1,685 2,376 2,296 15 18 24 2.18 2.12 2.63
Other leading
states

California 51 35 44 3,908 2,063 1,761 138 161 109 1.75 2.33 2.73
New York 301 333 316 974 1,012 1,164 7 6 9 2.23 2.09 2.35
Pennsylvania 143 131 154 740 575 655 9 10 10 1.80 2.17 2.26
Michigan 260 303 264 2,445 2,145 2,079 14 13 94 1.50 1.81 1.93
Ohio 342 298 261 1,836 1,665 1,681 10 12 9 1.84 2.08 1.88
Minnesota 64 127 99 399 555 369 12 9 11 1.85 2.00 1.83
Subtotal or
avg. 1,161 1,227 1,138 10,302 8,015 7,709 16 14 14 1.76 2.11 2.19

Other 13 states 985 920 1,030 4,259 4,204 4,206 9 9 9 1.97 2.04 2.25
U.S.--25 states 2,397 2,433 2,363 16,246 14,595 14,211 13 13 14 1.86 2.09 2.28


Source: Derived from [4].




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