Look to continent for how to sell houseplants, says Riggs

The IPM show in Germany has highlighted how houseplants have greater scope to be sold as a cut flower-like "decoration" in the UK, according to Jersey Plants Direct commercial development manager Ian Riggs.

He said: "The 1,600 exhibitors make you realise that ornamental horticulture is a huge sector that is energetic, exciting, innovative, vibrant. The show highlighted for me that gardening is becoming ever more lifestyle- oriented and fashion-driven.

"IPM is very good at showing the latest grower production techniques and varieties. It does, however, show the great divide between the UK and the continent when it comes to plants in the home.

"On the continent a houseplant is a 'decoration' that is very much treated as we use cut flowers in the UK. Plants have a lifespan that is not forever. As soon as the plant is past its best, it is disposed and another is purchased.

"Houseplants are presented in containers that are as colourful as the plants, not a terracotta plastic pot sitting on an old saucer until all the flowers are dead. Plants are consumables, not a lifelong chore to be kept at all costs."

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