Surge reported in bedding plant sales

Growers weigh up risks of planting second crops as purchases during good weather see some plant varieties selling out.

Local authority demand for bedding for park planting expected - image: HW
Local authority demand for bedding for park planting expected - image: HW

Bedding growers have reported a strong start to the season with some considering planting extra crops.

The two bank holiday weekends coupled with good weather meant growers have seen unusually good results. Although the season started early, there is little concern about frost, with no very cold weather forecast.

Arden Lea Nurseries director Nick Taylor said: "I can't remember a year when we've been so on top of orders, working ahead of our flow plans. The recession has hit some industries but if the sun shines, people buy plants."

He added that selling off surplus stock was a possibility. "We produce extra trays of plants to ensure that we can supply 100 per cent of our orders, and it looks like we can sell that additional two or three per cent," he said. "There will be cooler days of 14 degsC but there's no very cold weather on the way."

But many growers have decided not to risk an extra crop. Burston Nurseries manager and director James Alcaraz said: "It's been a blistering season but I'd rather sell what we have with little or no wastage. I'm slightly worried about water - I'd like to see a few more showers."

Nursery Fresh Plants sales and marketing director Peter Hull agreed that water was a concern. "It might put consumers off buying. If it's going to be a dry summer they won't get value for money. The weather has definitely extended the season, but it's about not being too greedy."

Morris May of getme plants.com said: "Growers are having an amazing season and some plants are almost impossible to come by. But people are being cautious about planting a second crop. There's a problem with falling behind on pricking out and the potential for the weather to change. They would rather sell out than take the risk."

SECOND PEAK DUE - Mark Taylor, business development manager, Kernock Park Plants

"It has been good this year. There have been gaps in people's production after the bank holidays and we're selling a lot from our surplus lists. There is a definite possibility of second or third crops. Frost shouldn't be a problem in the South West as the last one tends to be mid May. There's another peak soon with local authorities planting their beds. The season started early and hopefully will finish late. If planteria managers consider changing the stock, that might extend the season."


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