Greenhouse Firms


Economic Impacts of the Green Industry in the United States 2004. A new national impact study shows the green industry supplies the nation with $147.8 billion in output, nearly 2 million jobs, $64.3 billion in labor income and $6.9 billion in business taxes. In 2004, the nursery/greenhouse sector accounted for $26 billion in sales, 261,408 jobs and $18.1 billion in value added impacts. The region with the largest impact was the Midwest ($19.2 billion) followed by the Pacific region ($18.4 billion), Northeast ($17.9 billion) and Southeast ($13.5 billion). The study was conducted by Univ. of Tenn. and Univ. of Fla.

Enhancing Profitability in Greenhouse Firms is a new 56-page book written to help greenhouse operators gain a competitive edge. It focuses on 5 driving forces that affect the future of the greenhouse industry: environmental issues, regulations, communication technology, customer sophistication and partnership marketing.

The Society of American Florists (SAF) is the association that provides marketing, government advocacy, industry intelligence and best practices information for all participants in the U.S. floral industry. SAF is the national trade association that represents all segments of the U.S. floral industry. Our 15,000 members are the industry’s top retailers, growers, wholesalers, importers, manufacturers, suppliers, educators, students and allied organizations. SAF is the face and voice of a strong, unified floral industry.

OFA – an Association of Floriculture Professionalsis a member-focused national organization of greenhouse growers, garden center operators, retail and wholesale florists, interior plantscapers, green industry suppliers, students, and educators.

American Floral Endowment (AFE) and Floriculture Industry Research & Scholarship Trust (FIRST) have merged, creating a united organization that will become the floriculture industry’s comprehensive endowment for both research and scholarship grants. AFE will remain the name of the organization.

The Chain of Life Network® is a comprehensive assembly of information that can be used by growers, wholesalers, florists, supermarkets, brokers, breeders, importers, educators, bouquet manufacturers, associations, students, and floral supply companies to improve the performance of cut flowers and greens, cuttings, plugs, and foliage, flowering and bedding plants. Floral marketing and consumer information is also included.

The Floral Council of the Produce Marketing Association is a trade association for floral retailers and suppliers conducting business in the mass market side of the floral industry. PMA provides an outstanding forum to network and examine issues of mutual interest including standards, research and national issues related to the floral industry.

The U.S. Lawn & Garden Market. Now in its 6th edition, this study by Packaged Facts features numerous tables detailing sales patterns for L&G equipment, supplies, and services, with projections offered to 2009. It also contains profiles of major marketers such as MTD, Toro, Electrolux, Deere, Ames True Temper, Fiskars, Scotts, TruGreen-Chemlawn, and now Briggs & Stratton and Rayovac; provides compete coverage of new product trends; engages in a thorough analysis of distribution and retail sectors; and surveys consumer purchasing patterns for numerous lawn and garden products and services.

Product, Service, & Operational Trends of the US Retail Florist Industry, 2003 Study Co-Sponsored by WF&FSA, Over 1,000 retail florists throughout the US identify their current mix & form of cut flowers, potted plants, and non-perishables. This report also reveals momentum trends for product usage of 85 floral crops and over 30 hardgood/accessory “gift shop” items. Also profiled are florists’ service offerings, operational trends, types of sales (sympathy, party/wedding, commercial, wire/web, etc.), mode of sale (in-store, wire, web/Internet), direct sourcing of floral products (by-passing local wholesalers), and florist “success” measures. Trend comparison with 1998 Prince & Prince study. All findings are segmented by ten Census regions, market urbanization, age of florist owner, and florists’ annual sales.

Floriculture CropsA product of the National Agricultural Statistics Service, Agricultural Statistics Board, U.S. Department of Agriculture. This full-text report presents data on floriculture crops including cut flowers, flowering potted plants, foliage, bedding/garden plants, cut cultivated greens and special Hawaiian crops; data includes area in production, price and value of wholesale sales, and intentions for next year for 36 selected states and growers having $100,000 or more in sales; also number of growers and growing area for growers with $10,000 or more in sales.

Floriculture and Environmental Horticulture Outlook and Yearbook. ERS has resumed its Floriculture and Environmental Horticulture report, which was last published in 1999. It is now available twice a year, as an electronic outlook report (issued August 28) and a yearbook (issued May 24), both available online. These reports provide current intelligence and forecast the effects of changing conditions in the U.S. floriculture and environmental horticulture sector. Topics include production, consumption, trade, prices received, and more.

An Economic Analysis of Sequential Cropping Systems in Greenhouses in Tennessee: Tobacco and Tomatoes >by Alice J. Rhea, John R. Brooker, S. Darrell Mundy, David B. Eastwood, and Carl E. Sams of the University of Tennesse-Knoxville. The fundamental purpose of this study was to assess the feasibility of sequentially cropping vegetables with tobacco transplant production in greenhouse facilities that remain idle approximately eight months of the year. While several vegetables could offer some potential, the focus here is limited to tomatoes because of available budgetary information on tomatoes and because tomatoes are Tennessee’s number one vegetable crop. The specific objective of this study was to compare the income potentials for three greenhouse alternatives at selected levels of price and yield – tobacco transplants alone, tobacco transplants and fall tomatoes, and spring and fall tomatoes.

Economic Viability of Using Hardwood Residue Chips as a Heating Source for Nursery Greenhouse Operations in Tennesseeby Kim Jensen, Jamey Menard, Burt English, and William Park of the University of Tennessee-Knoxville. This study examines the economic feasibility of heating greenhouses with hardwood residue chips.

Resources for Greenhouse and Nursery Operations and Operators – a vast array of resources that managers in the green industry will find useful regarding starting a business, horticultural distributor companies, greenhouse manufacturers and general supply companies, websites for information on nursery and greenhouse production, integrated pest management, and much more.

Establishing a Greenhouse Business – Starting your own greenhouse business is a huge financial and personal decision to make. A key to making this decision is to know all of the facts. The following publications provide information regarding site establishment, determining product mix, cultural practices, and economic considerations of greenhouse production. Click on the links provided below to peruse the latest research-based guides to entering the greenhouse business.

Determining Costs of Production – The most important factor affecting the success of wholesale nursery businesses is the associated costs of producing and marketing landscape plants. The economic tool for determining costs of production is referred to as enterprise budgeting. The following publications specifically address typical costs faced by nursery operators today:

  • Greenhouse Cost of Production Budgets website, produced by Rutgers Cooperative Extension and the New Jersey Agricultural Experiment Station, provides information related to bedding plants (flats), fuchsia (hanging baskets), geraniums, new guinea impatiens (4in. pots and hanging baskets), potted mums, and garden mums. Additionally there is an interactive greenhouse crop budget with five crops and five examples of greenhouse costs of production budgets.
  • Researchers at N.C. State University have developed two Excel-based spreadsheets for calculating fertilizer and PGR requirements and costs — FERTCALC and PGRCALC.
  • Greenhouse Crop Production: Counting the Costs and Making Cents by John A. Biernbaum, Department of Horticulture, Michigan State University. How are the cost of production and the profitability of a crop calculated? What are variable and fixed costs? What is a square foot week and why is it important? Regardless of the size of the greenhouse or the size of the desired profit, there is a peace of mind that comes with knowing that the difference between the cost of production and the income generated from sales meets your personal goal. A financial prospectus or estimate of potential income is also important if borrowing money to build a greenhouse or start a business. This article discusses basic cost accounting.

Risk Management for Specialty Crops – Risk is an inherent factor in the production and marketing of specialty crops. The following resources provide excellent information regarding the proper management of production, marketing, financial, legal, environmental, and human resource risks.

Software for Greenhouse Growers – One of the questions most often asked is “What software alternatives are out there for the nursery industry?” While the list below is not meant to be all-inclusive, it is a good point from which to start in analyzing which software may be best suited for your firm:

E-commerce applications in the green industry. Although e-commerce performance in the green industry has been mixed to date, opportunities do exist to apply information technologies to the marketing of green industry products and services. While appropriate B2C models are still being evaluated, B2B models/portals have been highly touted as useful tools for e-procurement and online exchange. A few of the most popular B2B green industry sites (provided only as examples of this latest trend – not an endorsement) include,, Plant and Supply Locator, LMI Trees, and’s marketplace type website has information for locating Tennessee-grown nursery products and supplies specifically.

Green Industry Yellow Pages, Inc. – is a powerful search directory serving both the retail and wholesale sides of the green industry. Customers worldwide are searching GIYP for green industry products and services. As a buyer, GIYP allows you to research the products that satisfy your needs. As a seller, GIYP is a marketing medium that promotes your brand and marketing message. GIYP also offers website development and direct mail services.

Spectrum Net Designs offers services to the Green Industry including internet access, website registration, website hosting, website design, and website marketing.

Growing and Marketing Bedding Plantsby J. Raymond Kessler, Jr. Extension Horticulturalist and Assistant Professor Auburn University. This paper (ANR-559), published jointly by Alabama A&M and Auburn Universities, takes a look into consumers demand for bedding plants and how the greenhouse industry can respond to this demand.

The ATTRA Greenhouse and Hydroponic Vegetable Production Resources on the Internet provides a multitude of links to articles related to tomatoes, cucumbers, peas, and other general greenhouse vegetable production. Other topics include hydroponic vegetable production, aeroponics, greenhouse design and maintenance, and greenhouse production systems.

The Bottom Line in Greenhouse Tomato Production by Edmund A. Estes and Mary Peet of North Carolina State University. The primary purpose of this report is to provide a guide for greenhouse tomato growers so that they can estimate their operational bottom line, that is, calculate the difference between gross revenue and total cost. At the end of this report, a complete greenhouse tomato budget is developed and presented in a series of tables.

Purdue University Floriculture Extension’s Greenhouse Management articles cover topics from floriculture production to Best Management Practices and implementing a Quality Control Program in your nursery or greenhouse. Additionally, there are links for conversion guides and formulas and an on-line metric converter.

Energy Conservation for Commercial Greenhouses written by John W. Bartok, Jr., an authority on greenhouses for over 30 years. This newly revised, highly practical book reviews the merits and limitations of current energy-conservation strategies for commercial greenhouses. Topics covered include principles of heat loss, site selection and modification, construction materials, insulation, fuels and heating, ventilation and cooling, space utilization, utilities, strategies for reducing trucking costs, and managing for efficiency. Supplementing the text are 53 illustrations; 26 tables; equations and calculation examples; and four appendixes — an energy conservation checklist, heat loss calculations, selected product manufacturers and distributors, and useful conversions. The book, a revision of the 1989 version of the same name, will be of interest to anyone who is constructing a new greenhouse, considering renovating a greenhouse, or simply looking to increase energy conservation and efficiency in daily greenhouse operation. The website is a detailed review of the book, which can be purchased for a fee.

Greenhouse Systems: Automation, Culture, and Environment. This proceedings from a July 1994 international conference provides in-depth information on the engineering principles of greenhouse system design and management. The papers are grouped into four sections concerning automation, culture, environment, and systems integration. Papers cover fundamentals and describe the application of those fundamentals in system selection. The website provides a news release, table of contents, and the fee for purchasing the proceedings.

Greenhouse Engineering. This manual contains current information needed to plan, construct, and control the commercial greenhouse. Major sections describe various structures, methods of materials handling, the greenhouse environment, and energy conservation. Other topics include plans for noncommercial greenhouses, access for the handicapped, and remodeling existing greenhouses. A large appendix includes conversion tables, worksheets for performing calculations, and sources of greenhouse construction materials and contractors. The website contains purchase information and a news release.

Tax Information for Businesses. This website, provided by the IRS, is a good source of information for tax rules and regulations.

The Small Business/Self-Employed webpage, also provided by the IRS, offers information and links for starting a business, employee records, employer id numbers, and many other aspects of owning and operating a small business.

Greenhouse and Nursery Industry Trade Magazines(and other commercial publications):
Many of the industry trade magazines are available free of charge to commercial operations. They provide a wealth of applied information.

  • Greenhouse Grower, Meister Publishing Company, 37733 Euclid Ave., Willoughby, OH 44094-5992; Tel: 440-942-2000
  • Greenhouse Business, McCormick Communications Group Ltd., PO Box 698, Part Ridge, IL 60068-0698;1951 Rohlwing Rd, Suite B, Rolling Meadows, IL 60008; Tel: 847-870-1576.
  • Grower Talks, Subscription Dept., PO Box 9, 335 North River St. Batavia, IL 60510-0099; Tel:
  • Green Profit, Ball Publishing, 335 N. River Street, Post Office Box 9, Batavia, IL 60510-0009 USA; tel (630) 208-9080; fax (630) 208-9350; email
  • American Nurseryman magazine, also a source for many books, videos and software, American Nurseryman Publishing Co., 223 W. Jackson Blvd., Suite 500, Chicago, IL 60606-6904, Phone: 312.427.7339; 800.621.5727; Fax: 312.427.7346; Web:
  • Something to Grow On, Auburn University Nursery Newsletter, Contact: Bernice R. Fischman,
  • North Carolina Nursery Notes, NC Association of Nurserymen, Inc., 968 Trinity Rd., Raleigh, NC 27607, Tel: 919.816.9119, Fax: 919.816.9118, email:
  • Nursery Retailer – a trade magazine dedicated to providing content that will enhance the business practices of retail garden centers.
  • SNA Research Conference Proceedings, Southern Nursery Association
  • Digger, published by Oregon Association of Nurserymen, 2780 SE Harrison St. Suite 102, Milwaukie, OR 97222; Tel: 503-653-8733; 800-342-6401
  • Journal of Environmental Horticulture, published by Horticultural Research Institute, 1250 I Street, N.W., Suite 500, Washington, DC 20005

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