Formula For Success

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Formula For Success

The best way to turn more of your customers into avid gardeners is to make them successful with minimal effort. For decades, garden centers have been giving both plants and customers a boost with SUPERthrive™, a concentrated formula of 50 natural vitamins and hormones for plants. It can be used on any type of plants or seeds and is nontoxic.

SUPERthrive was invented by Dr. John Thomson. He earned his doctorate in biochemistry from Columbia Pacific University and founded the Vitamin Institute in 1939 as J.A. Thomson Bio-Organic Chemist. He has originated many uses for horticultural hormones and his products have been used in plant activating, reviving, transplating, growing, rooting and seed invigoration. “I’ve made over 300 products. Now I only make one,” Thomson says.

SUPERthrive is not plant food or a substitute for fertilizer, but consists of compounds plants already make, he explains. “Under ideal conditions, nobody needs SUPERthrive. If conditions are not ideal, plants can’t make these compounds or make them fast enough.”

Still thriving himself, Thomson is 95 and was the first chemist to receive a lifetime achievement award from the Lawn & Garden Marketing and Distribution Association last year. In addition to working with distributors, the Vitamin Institute does sell direct to retailers and offers free samples.

SUPERthrive is available in 1-oz., 2-oz., 4-oz., pint, quart, gallon and 5-gallon containers for retailers, and even 15 gallons for commercial use. Each box comes with a point-of-purchase sign and a handy pad of slips packed with information for consumers to tear off and keep.

“The U.S. Federal Trade Commission (FTC) conducted a 50-state survey, which claims an average of 40 percent of plants sold at retail are dead within a year and only 4 percent of those with dead plants actually complained,” he says. “Retailers don’t even realize it because customers don’t want to complain. It’s more logical to beat it to the punch! If the retailer points to our sign or gives out the slip in the first place, when the plant is going down hill, the customer can revive the shrub or tree with SUPERthrive. When I asked 2,000 garden center managers at a trade show if they knew SUPERthrive revives trees and shrubs that have green under the bark, 100 percent of them said ‘Yes.’”

A Strong Heritage

Thomson is most proud to receive letters from all over the world from farmers and consumers singing the praises of SUPERthrive. Children write in and ask for samples to use in science fair experiments.

During World War II, five branches of the U.S. government used SUPERthrive to enhance plantings in adverse conditions, Thomson says. In Los Angeles Harbor, the Navy used it to help plants overcome saltwater conditions on a naval base. The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers used it to help plantings of bare root trees to camouflage defense factories.

When rubber was scarce for defense manufacturing, the U.S. Forestry Service used SUPERthrive to grow juayule rubber plants. At California Polytechnic State University, USDA achieved 100 percent yields on medicinal plants. The U.S. Air Force also has used SUPERthrive to grow turf quickly to keep dust down.

Thomson predicts society will always have an interest in and need for plants that thrive.

For More Information:
Vitamin Institute

Delilah Onofrey directs Flower Power Marketing for the Suntory Collection. She can be reached at

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