The secret to shrink management: plant care

With proper care at store level, the retail shelf life of potted plants is prolonged. Depending on the plant species, a well-maintained blooming and foliage plant can provide years of beauty and indoor air filtration benefits to your valued consumers. Neglecting the care of plants can cause unnecessary shrink and adversely affect financials.

Care and Handling

Unpack product immediately. Many foliage varieties will quickly damage if left in their shipment boxes. Carefully remove each plant from its shipment box and protective sleeve. Care must be used when taking plants out of shipping cases to avoid bruising the leaves and blooms or damaging the stalks and buds.

Groom the plant by removing any damaged leaves, stalks or blooms and wipe off any excess dirt from outside the pot or pot cover.

potted2 Water properly

Your foliage will arrive thirstily. Check the plant and, if dry, water it right away to help settle both the plant and the soil in the pots after transport. Give the plants a good soaking; do not just wet the top of the soil. Water the plant until it drains out the bottom, but don’t let the plant sit in water. Wet-Feet (roots sitting in water) is as bad as under-watering. After watering, remove the plants’ pot cover and allow the plant to drain off excessive moisture. Continue to check and water your plants each day whenever the soil surface feels dry to the touch.

Common plants with special watering requirements are as follows:

Hairy leaves on plants must not get wet. Water on these leaves will cause mold immediately. Varieties in this category include Gloxinia and African Violets. Water either in the saucer from the bottom up or gently hold blooms and foliage to the side and place water directly on the soil.

Succulent plants (blooming or not) need far less water. One watering every two weeks is usually enough.

Ferns take in water through their leaves; therefore, misting these plants with water will assure healthier plants.

Bulb plants, during blooming stages, generally require water at least every other day.


Most foliage and blooming varieties should be maintained at a temperature of 65 to 75 degrees F. Check the product-specific tag for instructions.


All plants are custom grown in a controlled greenhouse environment. Foliage products are grown to perform inside your store. Lawn and Garden product are grown to perform in an outside selling environment. Moving an inside plant outside or vice vs. will damage the plant without the proper environment. Foliage placed outside the store will experience leaf burn within just a few hours if not sheltered from the sun. A lawn and garden plant merchandised inside the store will drop its flower buds and leaves.


Rotate and keep fresh, top quality plants on display. Look for old, dead or dying plants and remove them. No one will buy distressed plants, and they reflect poorly on the entire store. If you wouldn’t buy the plant, get rid of it so the quality image of your store remains intact!

Melissa Jones is an experienced mass market and e-commerce buyer with over 15 years in the industry.

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