Landscape industry buys more edible plants and fruit tress as part of grow-your-own trend

Sales of edible plants to the landscape market show signs of another year of strong growth as the grow-your-own trend deepens.

Gianna Dellow of Rochford. Image: Rochford
Gianna Dellow of Rochford. Image: Rochford

Rochford's cash and carry began selling bare root fruit trees for the first time in 2009 and has expanded its range for 2010 after exceptionally strong sales.

Sales person Gianna Dellow said: "It did surprise us how successful it was - our fruit trees have probably gone up 50 per cent after bringing in the bare root. They worked out very cheap so they became very affordable for people.

"Vegetable sales are probably going up 20 per cent a year. People are already asking when things are coming in. We are anticipating that it will carry on so I think this year will be quite big for fruit and vegetables again."

The company introduced a range of vegetables for the first time last year and Dellow said it would increase its range this year. "A lot of our customers are doing ready-made vegetable gardens, particularly in London," she added. "We now have lots of different varieties. Where before it would have been just Cos and Little Gem lettuce, we are now doing a lot of Italian types. We are selling a lot of chillies and more exotic things as well."

She said there had even been interest from commercial projects and that schools had been one of the company's key client groups.

Wyevale East also saw a boom in the sale of edible plants last year and introduced a range of vegetables to capitalise on the trend.

Nursery director Richard McKenna said: "We did a lot last year and we will do a lot again this year, I think. Over the past three or four years we have probably seen annual increases of 10 to 15 per cent on sales of soft, hard and top fruit. We are selling to landscapers who are incorporating them into people's gardens because their clients are requesting them.

"We did vegetables for the first time last year and tomatoes were probably the biggest seller. They were actually planting them into peoples' containers for them or they were replacing bedding with them."


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