We’re into the winter season, so you might predict that sales will drop off for a bit. But they don't have to! In fact, whether you’re a LandscapeHub supplier or buyer, you can use this often down time to create additional winter sales…in the form of porch pots.
What are Porch Pots?
Porch pots are winter-friendly container plantings that incorporate cut evergreen branches, evergreens, semi-evergreen perennials, and annuals for bright spots of color and interest — during a time of year when most other parts of the landscape are looking a bit drab.
A trip to any shopping center at this time of year reveals that porch pots or winter pots are big business now. It’s not enough to clean pots and leave them empty until spring. Four-season plantings or arrangements are practically a requirement and you can provide this service!
What to sell:
- Entryway pots for both residential and commercial clients
- Window box planters (either planted with cold-tolerant plants or decorated with cut greens, pinecones, and other seasonal accents)
- Extra-large focal point containers to place within garden beds or to anchor a gathering area
How to Promote Porch Pots
Your customers won’t know you don’t offer these seasonal services if you don’t tell them! Communicate with your customers regularly so they know what to expect and what you’re offering or have in stock.
Suppliers: Use email marketing and/or social media to let your buyers know what you have in stock (4” colorful annuals, a new shipment of cold-resistant planters, seasonal cut greens, wreaths, or evergreen topiaries or decorative branches). Update your list regularly and remind your buyers about anything new or exciting you’ve just received.
Buyers: Use email marketing and/or social media (Instagram, Pinterest, and Facebook) to highlight examples of seasonal porch pots so your clients can envision them in their outdoor spaces. Dig up images from porch pots and winter containers from last year. If you don’t have any, take a couple of hours to create one at your home and photograph it.
And remember those upsells! Clients love sparkly white lights in their container plantings all throughout the winter, so add that feature to your services. At the end of the winter season, let your clients know that you offer seasonal container subscription service — every three months, you’ll replant the porch pots with new seasonal color, and provide a maintenance service for watering and fertilizing in between. Make it easier by selecting evergreen centerpiece plants and only swapping out the surrounding seasonal color, or go all-out with completely new seasonal plantings.
Pro Tips for Selling this Service
- Images sell! Make sure yours are clear, inviting, and capture the coziness and festive spirit of the season. Suppliers, show pictures of raw materials AND pictures of the materials planted up or assembled and ready to use to get your customers’ creative juices flowing.
- Keep in mind that in marketing, FOMO (the Fear Of Missing Out) is real — so let your customers/clients know when the offer ends, or if you only have a limited supply of a feature product or limited number of appointments left in your schedule. Send out a last reminder email on the day the offer expires; you’ll be amazed at how many people respond.
- Use enticing adjectives (similar to ones used in this article) to describe not just the product but the feeling created by these porch pots — cozy, festive, inviting, welcoming, sparkly, warm, or twinkly. Focus on the benefit to the client/customer, rather than the product itself.
Perfect Plants for Porch Pots
To create porch pots with maximum impact, choose your plants wisely. Winter is an unforgiving season, and the best porch pots feature zone-appropriate plants that can take the weather where you live. Here are a few favorites:
- Cut Greens: Cut seasonal greens are ideal for window boxes, wreaths, and large container plantings. Combine them with pinecones, wintery branches, branches with berries, and cold-tolerant annuals, and add battery-operated white lights to finish it off.
- Boxwood: Far from being ho-hum, this traditional evergreen shrub is the perfect porch pot centerpiece to show off seasonal color.
- Hellebore: Lenten rose is a cold-weather favorite for perking up those container plantings.
- Carex: These grasslike plants blend beautifully with evergreens and colorful annuals, adding texture that sets off a mixed-planting container.
- Ornamental Grasses: Larger ornamental grasses make for naturalistic focal points in large porch pots – look for Hakonechloa macra, Miscanthus sinensis, or Muhlenbergia dumosa. Their winter forms are amazing.
- Flowering Bulbs: Layer your plantings with flowering bulbs that have a variety of bloom time — your client’s porch pots will have delightful surprises popping up after the annuals have faded.
- Dogwood Decorative Branches: These colorful branches add seasonal drama to larger porch pots, focal point container plantings, and window boxes. Surround them with cut greens, pinecones, or annuals for undeniable flair.
- Deciduous Ornamental Trees: Not every centerpiece needs to be evergreen — choose a smaller deciduous tree (Japanese maple, crape myrtle, dogwood), add lights to it, and underplant with colorful annuals or cut greenery, and you’ve got an instant best-seller.
Tips for Creating Porch Pots
With any landscape service or project, logistics and other practical matters are key to being efficient. And because efficiency increases profitability, it pays to think ahead.
- Thaw frozen soil with water from an electric kettle if planting at the base of your porch pots
- Water plants immediately after planting and directly before a hard freeze
- Use a “wilt proof” type of spray to keep evergreens from drying out and turning brown
- Mist cut evergreen branches regularly with water