Imports rise while exports fall

Defra figures for 2014 reveal an increase in plant and flower imports while export level drops.

Paula Baxter: big demand highlighted
Paula Baxter: big demand highlighted

Plant and flower imports are rising while exports are falling, according to the latest Defra figures.

The annual Agriculture in the UK plants and flowers update was published by HMRC last month. It shows that exports fell to £56m in 2014 from £61m in 2013.

Imports rose to £1,106m from £1,079m. Cut flowers were among the highest risers, up from £663m to £691m, despite campaigns for retailers to sell more British-grown bouquets.

But tree imports fell from £62m to £51m after cuts in grants for woodland planting. In 1995, tree imports were £6m and cut flowers £256m.

Bulb imports peaked at £95m in 2011 but reached £82m in 2014 under provisional Defra figures.

Defra works with ADAS to collect data on production areas, which have remained steady at around 12,000ha for several years, although were as high as 20,000ha 20 years ago.

The value of production fell slightly from £1,191m to £1,166m, which is still the second highest total ever, having broken through the £1,000m mark in 2011.

The 2014 figure is split into £42m flowers and bulbs in the open, £796m hardy plants and flowers nursery stock and £328m protected crops - all of which showed marginal falls.

HTA chief executive Carol Paris said: "With the strength of the pound the cost of plants from the continent is attractive. Tree imports being down is more to do with forestry grants."

Cut flowers Call issued for more growers

The Scottish branch of UK cut flower grower network Flowers From the Farm (FFTF) has called for more local growers to come forward to meet the demand from Scottish customers for homegrown bouquets.

Paula Baxter from Mill Pond Flower Farm in Foulden, Berwickshire, said there are just 12 Scottish growers registered and "there is a big demand". She sold out of her cut flowers in 2014 and is growing 10 times more in 2015, with dahlias a big focus, she added.

Speaking at Gardening Scotland, Baxter said: "Florists now want to use British-grown."

Interflora was caught out using just one British variety out of 60 in its "quintessentially British" display at the RHS Chelsea Flower Show last month. "If they wanted to change to use more British flowers they could," said Baxter.

She added: "It's terrible because what they are saying is British-grown is not in season. It gives a false view of what is possible and what is available.

If these flowers are British then they should say they are and promote that."

Baxter described an increase in the value of cut flower imports from £663m in 2013 to £691m in 2014 as "disappointing", but added that buying of home-grown cut flowers is rising too.

FFTF will be exhibiting at the RHS Hampton Court Palace Flower Show on 30 June to 5 July.

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

Regional showcase - GroSouth

Regional showcase - GroSouth

A wide range of exhibitors and speakers will feature at GroSouth to update visitors on all the latest industry topics, writes Matthew Appleby.



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.

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.