Natalia Hamill

1. Bailey Nurseries recently launched an education initiative to give consumers the tools they need to be successful with hydrangeas in their home gardens. What has the response been so far?
NH: We took a multi-prong approach with Endless Summer® education, which includes social media (Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest), a hashtag (#lifeinfullbloom), the brand website (www.endlesssummerblooms.com), videos and an opt-in texting program to deliver educational messages. These platforms allow us to deliver information when and where consumers choose to receive it and to package it in small, digestible bites. The response has been tremendous. People have opted-in for the text message program, which delivers timely care tips for Endless Summer®, and website visits from various platforms are up 69 percent compared to last year. This shows when you deliver information consumers can use, they respond to it in a positive manner, as opposed to spamming them with sales pitches.

2. Why is it important to reach consumers directly and bring them information on your varieties and how to grow them?
NH: We conducted consumer market research earlier this year which, confirmed our belief that while consumers have a very favorable opinion of Hydrangea macrophylla, they know very little about shopping for hydrangeas or about how to care for them once they get them home. We also know a lot of consumers use their mobile devices while shopping for plants as they make purchase decisions. The best way to get accurate information in front of them is for the brand to develop it and deliver it — again reaching consumers with information they want when and where they want it.

3. What would you recommend retailers do to take advantage of these programs to enhance the store experience?
NH: We have a very user-friendly series of retail tools available to any retailer that wants to use them. We have traditional POP materials, which promotes the Endless Summer® cultural care texting program. We also have photography and video footage available for retailers to use in their own marketing materials, as well as a printed brochure that highlights the four varieties in Endless Summer® along with detailed care information. Retailers can also link to endlesssummerblooms.com as well as our social pages. We also have a lot of great tools — sell sheets, cultural information, images, and content available on www.baileynurseries.com/our-brands/endless-summer/. We want people to use that information. It is there for you!

4. What sets hydrangeas apart from other perennials and flowering shrubs?
NH: A major point of difference is the fact that Endless Summer® is the world’s best-selling hydrangea. We’ve sold 25 million plus plants since the brand launched in 2004. We also know from the consumer market research, consumers have overwhelmingly positive perceptions of hydrangeas with “big, beautiful popcorn ball flowers.” One of the things that sets Endless Summer® apart from other flowering shrubs and from many other H. macrophylla, is the fact that they are remontant, which means the buds on old growth bloom early in the season. These early flowers are followed by the “rebloom” of fresh new flowers formed on buds from the current season growth. That’s a long way of saying Endless Summer® delivers weeks and weeks of big, colorful flowers. There are very few flowering shrubs or perennials that put on a show of color like that. Most perennials and shrubs tend to have smaller flowers and they bloom for a much shorter period of time.

5. Are there any new hydrangea varieties coming down the pike that you’re excited to launch?
NH: We have three full-time breeders in Georgia and their No. 1 breeding priority is H. macrophylla. We will be able to talk more about the next addition to Endless Summer later this fall.