Sell more houseplants

Sell more houseplants

Expert Ra Gadd shared her tips for successful displays at IGC Show.

August 22, 2019

Houseplant specialist and indoor plant sales consultant Ra Gadd knows that while houseplants are hot right now, the right displays can help you sell even more of the popular plant options. From placement in the garden center to upselling hard goods, Gadd shared her best tips for displays at the IGC Show in Chicago.

Core concepts

Keep like families together to help your customers find what they need, and to make plant care easier for your employees. Organize houseplants in ways that make sense for your staff and customers to care for them.

When it comes to displays, Gadd said, “It’s a lot of the same principles you use for outdoor containers.”

Here’s what you should be considering, according to Gadd:

  • Color
  • Texture
  • Height
  • Size/scale
  • Fragrance
  • Negative space
  • Lighting
  • Focal points

You want to make sure that your displays are touchable and inviting to shoppers. “That’s why they buy more from brick and mortar stores, and that’s how you keep it that way,” she said.

As customers shop your displays, make sure that you’re merging to conceal low inventory. Making use of the full space available is key to ensuring a fully stocked department, even if you’re low on plants, Gadd said. Plus, moving and turning the plants is good for their health.

“It’ll be a quick transition, but it will support your ideas,” Gadd said. “You’ll already have someone checking the plants daily, so this shouldn’t be hard.”

Display materials

One way to cut down on display costs is using recycled materials like furniture, crates, picture frames, mirrors and sellable support products.

When it comes to new materials, Gadd said plastic saucers are a must-have. “You can’t have enough assorted saucers.”

Plant stands and plastic-lined baskets blend well with almost everything. People also tend to buy these along with the plants because they’re so cheap, she said.


Vignettes need to be movable no matter what, Gadd said, so that you can make room for lines during the busy season, classes, diagnostics and whatever else you want to host at your IGC.

Inside the vignettes, you want to be aware of your airflow. If you don’t leave enough space in between plants, you’ll run into fungus and disease problems, especially if the plants don’t sell right away.

For your regular shoppers, you’ll want to be sure you’re switching things up to create an unpredictable experience. Think about changing displays between seasons and special events. Transitions can inspire creativity in both your customers and staff.

Pot selection

Make sure you have the right pot selections with the right plants. “You’re going to learn who your helicopter parents are,” she said.  If you know your customer is extra-attentive, be sure to give them something like a terra cotta pot that will dry out quickly.

“Profile your plant owners and guide them where you know they’ll be most successful,” Gadd said.

What’s left behind

To gauge the success of your displays, and to see what’s working, make note of where customers leave plants and products as they shop. “Where are they ditching things in your store?” Gadd asked. “Where are they learning what they want instead?”