The HTA's regional team met members around the country recently and discovered "it's a mixed bag in terms of sales", said business development director Tim Briercliffe. The mild autumn had given an extra sales boost but also sounded alarms, he added.
"Above-average temperatures, especially in October, really stimulated sales of plants and bulbs at a key selling time for the latter. That meant when demand took off they were drawing from stock being grown for next year.
"Autumn is still fairly small compared to spring in terms of volumes, so retailers must reserve the plants they need next spring. But people are growing fewer plants speculatively because they can't afford possible waste."