What is the future of bedding plants?

We asked delegates at the HTA Bedding Focus Conference.

"This event has convinced people that there's a future for bedding, like there always has been. We have to come up with new ideas of how it's promoted to the consumer and displayed in garden centres.

"There's so many more distractions for younger people than gardens. It's probably an age thing. Younger people go to B&Q for their plants and they get used to having them and go there rather than the garden centres.

"They have just got their first home and they go and buy some paint there and on impulse they buy some bedding."

- Brian Crosby, partner, Crosby's Nurseries

"As the research said, you can't replace bedding plants. There will always be a strong market for it.

"There's always going to be a demand for it - it's ongoing and constantly growing. Ideas and inspirations are very important as to how you display the product. We also find that bedding customers go for colour and added value with things like hanging baskets.

"For us, we are seeing growth across all bedding areas particularly with the hanging baskets because they give colour and value for money."

- Martyn Hill, bedding plant buyer, Homebase

"It's got a very good future. We have heard today that it's a pretty low-cost product and the consumer doesn't mind paying out for bedding plants.

"We need to attract that younger group but there are a lot of new and innovative products coming along and the breeders are constantly coming up with new products that will hopefully inspire that younger gardener.

"Time is one of the key challenges for the younger guys. They don't want to make it up themselves, they want it there and then. The garden centres need to work on that."

- Mike Lewis, business development manager, Ball Colegrave

"It's a product that we target very much at the non-experienced entry-level gardener and their decisions are based on impulse rather than a pre-planned purchase.

"We need a product in colour and a low price, so if it does not perform well and they have a poor experience they are not losing money.

"It's got a lot of growth. If you went back 20 years ago, people used bedding to bed out. Now bedding is loosely described as an annual colourful plant."

- Tim Jacob, sales manager, Farplants

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