Changes tracked in US bedding market

Grower tour finds US bedding plant production has returned to hand transplanting as large containers take precedence.

Basket refills: US top-up plants
Basket refills: US top-up plants

The leader of a grower tour to the USA has highlighted the dramatic changes in bedding plant production that have taken place in America, leading to a return of hand transplanting as large containers take almost universal precedence over pack products.

WD Smith director Michael Smith jointly led the Horticultural Development Company (HDC) and British Protected Ornamentals Association-backed seasonal plant study tour to the North American east coast. He said on tours undertaken 20 years ago, automation and transplanting were everywhere. But now hand transplanting is back and workers on nurseries everywhere were making up hanging baskets.

However, he told Horticulture Week, unlike the UK, nurseries in the USA and their retail customers appear to have missed out on the market for higher-value plug plants, with the focus instead on providing container-based "instant" solutions for the end customer.

"They've gone too far and missed the opportunity of selling high-value jumbo pack lines," said Smith, who described the lack of pack bedding at the nurseries visited as "frightening". The tour included visits to 14 nurseries with internal transport and organisational costs for the tour funded by the HDC.

The US nurseries visited included Bell Nursery, which runs a pay-by-scan system for retailer Home Depot and category manages the plants across all the retail chain's 500 stores.

Growers also saw examples of basket refills allowing customers to top-up their existing containers with new plants. A similar service was launched by Jersey Plants Direct last month whereby top-up plants in biodegradable inserts arrive by post for insertion in hanging baskets, containers or trough.

Market contrast - Changes in pack bedding

US reports suggest that the pack bedding market has dropped by $15m since 2005. By contrast, in the UK, which has introduced higher-value larger bedding plugs, pack bedding remains an important sector, supported by a core of knowledgeable gardening consumers who form the majority of sales.

Nevertheless, the sector recognises there is a change in demographics and decreasing space for gardening in new homes in particular, driving demand for near-mature plants, ready to offer immediate colour and structure.

Before commenting please read our rules for commenting on articles.

If you see a comment you find offensive, you can flag it as inappropriate. In the top right-hand corner of an individual comment, you will see 'flag as inappropriate'. Clicking this prompts us to review the comment. For further information see our rules for commenting on articles.

comments powered by Disqus

Read These Next



These tidy evergreen trees are not just for Christmas and come in a range of shapes and sizes, writes Miranda Kimberley.

Pest & Disease Factsheet - Green manure crops

Pest & Disease Factsheet - Green manure crops

Valuable tools to combat pests and diseases, improve soils and boost nutrient levels.

Pots and containers

Pots and containers

Superior propagation products can justify extra expenditure by providing precise cell fill, optimum root development and healthy plugs, writes Sally Drury.

From The Editor - Production and retail showcase

From The Editor - Production and retail showcase

With the first entry deadlines for two of the industry's leading awards schemes looming, this is the perfect time to start thinking about which categories can best support your goals this year - and get cracking on those entries.

Seabrook on...Product showcase and valuable networking at Four Oaks

Seabrook on...Product showcase and valuable networking at Four Oaks

The Four Oaks Trade Show is a must on my calendar.

According To Edwards ... Changes large and small anticipated for UK producers

According To Edwards ... Changes large and small anticipated for UK producers

No one knows the changes that Brexit will impose on the UK over time. Some will surely be massive and they are already being guessed at. But there will be little changes too and some of those will ripple out over time to surprisingly large effect. I don't pretend to know what will happen, but it's fun to speculate.

Follow us on:
  • Facebook
  • LinkedIn
  • Twitter
  • Google +
Horticulture Jobs
More Horticulture Jobs

Pest & Disease Tracker bulletin 

The latest pest and disease alerts, how to treat them, plus EAMU updates, sent direct to your inbox.

Sign up here

Are you a landscape supplier?

Horticulture Week Landscape Project Leads

If so, you should be receiving our new service for Horticulture Week subscribers delivering landscape project leads from live, approved, planning applications across the UK.