Prices falling for plant imports

Centres pledge to continue buying British plants where possible despite falling cost of importing.

Plant imports: cheaper option
Plant imports: cheaper option

Plant imports are getting cheaper thanks to the recovering economy, but garden centres have vowed to still buy British where they can.

Sterling is 10 per cent stronger against the euro than in August 2013, meaning imports are cheaper to buy for UK retailers.

HTA horticulture head Raoul Curtis-Machin said: "UK growers are keeping a close eye on the exchange rate with sterling up against the Euro. With the economic recovery in the UK much stronger than that in Europe, UK growers face competition from relatively cheaper imports. UK growers can't afford to increase their prices despite rising costs of production. Dutch and German growers have a lot of stock available and their prices are fairly static."

Caulders Garden Centres owner Colin Barrie said: "For a while Dutch stuff was just so expensive so the change in exchange rates is making a difference. But there's a lot of good stuff coming out of the UK and we would always buy UK stock first."

Garden Inspirations manager Mike Easom added: "European trade is huge at the moment but they (garden centres) must buy more in the UK. This will help the UK market be more competitive. We buy 95 per cent in UK."

He warned about the amount of European horticulture shop websites popping up on the internet that appear to be UK sites.

Specialist growers

"People should be worried more about the quality than the price. Because we're a relatively small centre, we're not really price-sensitive. Our speciality is that we buy plants from specialist English growers."

Beryl Henderson, owner, North One and West Six garden centres.

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