Indoor Plants

Indoor Plants Job Description

This job description should be read in conjunction with:
(a) Guidelines for staff in charge of a section
(b) Guidelines for buyers
(c) Bulleen Art and Garden Environmental Weed Policy

Introduction
Our customers generally buy indoor plants for different reasons than other plants. They are decorating the inside of their house or a courtyard, which they are going to treat very differently to their general garden planting. They will also frequently be buying the plant as a gift or on straight impulse. Therefore different demands are going to be put on your display, buying and general maintenance skills.

Display

A high standard of display is essential, they need to clean and disease free and pleasing to the eye. The displays need to be altered regularly, this encourages more interest especially for the regular customer. Therefore:

(1) It is your responsibility to maintain the stock, art pieces and the benches in the indoor section.
(2) Flowering indoors eg. African violets, that will only sell in flower need regular detail. If they are not moving, or their flower looks as if it is going to deteriorate, dump them quickly at half price or less if it means selling them quickly rather than tossing them out and put plants in that will sell now.
(3) Sales can be increased by grouping the different pot sizes of the same variety. All pot sizes should be clear to the customer because each pot size is a different product for sale and our full product range must be clearly on display all the time. Also larger better specimen plants can encourage people to buy the smaller pots, eg. a large boston basket over the smaller pots or a large Kentia next to the smaller ones show people what they will look like. Grouping plants also makes it easier for the customer to locate plants, saves time-consuming inquiries, and makes it easier for customers to make decisions.

(4) The themes that you develop should be consistent with the overall theme of the place. Art is a big part of the place and as such should be combined in displays to create an overall “feel” around the place. The patio feel of the section should be enhanced by sharp displays with pots, garden furniture and a few ornaments. Now that the section has opened out, do not clutter up area with too many plants, ornaments and pots.

Buying

(1) With indoor plants you have to be very choosy with the plants you buy. If plants are not the same quality as ordered or have been grown too soft, complain to the supplier and send them back. There is no need to be rude, e.g. say I am very sorry but they are not good enough. Remember we are dependent on our suppliers. The plants you buy must be well labelled in clean pots.
(2) In late April you have to change your stock lines. Some indoor growers are going to supply far more cold tolerant plants than others. Beware of suppliers who hold their plants in ideal conditions, even the hardier plants will collapse when transferred to our conditions. Adalia Park nursery grow all their plants without heating and only stock hardy varieties during winter, they are our preferred supplier especially during winter. Cassaboo are also ok.
Some plants will either not survive or look terrible in an unheated area, eg. Af.voilets, Diffenbachia, Crotons etc. so don’t buy them in the winter months.
(3) Stock up on appropriate gift lines for Christmas and Mother’s Day, and order ponsettias etc. well in advance. Check with the nursery manager or buyer to advise on stock quantities and already pre-ordered stock.
(4) Do not stock large quantities of the one plant in this section. Customers will generally only buy one or two of the same plant in the indoor section. Instead broaden the range during the peak times. Try to buy matching pairs of standards as most people buy these for either side of entrances.

Maintenance

(1) Always wear your secateurs while working in the indoor section , and remove any dead leaves etc. when you see them. Customers think a plant with a dead leaf is a sick plant.
(2) Spray individual plants as soon as a problem arises. Some problems, particularly mites, can spread quickly through this area. Some sprays will damage the foliage of indoor plants and ferns, check with the nursery manager if you are not sure.
(3) The area needs to be swept weekly.
(4) Substandard plants will not sell and detract from your displays. They have to be specialled or tossed out. In mid September as the weather warms up and we get busier, a special of the stock we have had over winter may be a good idea. Fresh stock always sells well.
(5) Every 6 weeks the paving and benches need to scrubbed down with a small amount of disinfectant to try and prevent algae and “slipperiness” of the floor, this can be dangerous to customers and staff.
(6) Plants can be overwatered in winter, and this will cause them to rot very quickly. Water the section sparingly in winter and keep the potting mix slightly dry at all times.
(7) All plants in the shop area must be meticulously maintained at all times, this is the last impression of plant quality that customers will get as they leave.

General

(1) PRICING. All plants must be clearly priced before going into stock. The pricing must be uniform, ie. similar sized stickers and placed onto the pot in the same spot.
(2) Solve the customer’s problems. You should group some of your plants that are suitable for particular positions, eg. darker positions inside. If your groupings are not creating sales and your display and signage is good, try something else.
(3) Give honest accurate information to the customer all the time. For example make sure the customer knows that gloxinias are difficult to grow in the long run but always point out they are far better value than a bunch of flowers.
(4) Keep the entrance to the indoor section and side entrance open so products are clearly visible.

(5) Special off as soon as plants deteriorate place into specials at ½ price or less as necessary. Anything that wont last the winter eg. Diffenbachias should be specialled before winter hits to get them out of the nursery before frosts damage them.

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