Wyevale Garden Centres to grow local nursery supply to build 'local difference' - plus house and 'large format' plants

Wyevale Garden Centre head of trading - horticulture Mark Sage said the 149-centre group will have three big focuses in 2017.

The first focus will be on houseplants, where Sage said the range was continuing to grow after seeing an uplift, particularly on cacti and foliage, in 2016.

The second Wyevale focus will be to add "local difference" by using local growers to supply plants suited to the local climate. This will start in the south west coastal area with two nurseries and expand this year.

Thirdly, large format plants with examples such as viburnum, aucuba and phormiums will be more available. Sage suggested they would be tougher "rather than palms and lines that come out of Italian growers", adding they would target "UK-tolerant plants for our ever-changing climate."

Sage said container gardening had seen double digit growth for the past three years as gardens got smaller.

He said grow your own is now established as a category and purple plants would be a promotional feature in May.

Sage added that there were "opportunities" for UK growers to show what they can do post-Brexit. He says value remains "important" but you need to "distinguish between price and value".

He added that January's online Wyevale launch was going well and would have a lot more plants added soon so the "full assortment" was available.

Wyevale gathers trend information from face to face focus groups its gardening club and from feedback from horticulture managers, both formally and informally.

Sage said there has been "solid growth" in areas such as cacti and foliage helped by Pinterest postings of urban jungle photos in people’s houses. He added that the trend will continue as long as Wyevale keeps the range "up to date" for the "new generation" getting into it.

He said container gardening growth was linked to lower home ownership and that it was "not just cheap and cheerful" mixes that people wanted.

Sage said the annual three-day Wyevale internal spring show this month was "one of the best spring shows we have had".

Staff attend the show, which includes Wyevale supplier stands and speeches from management. Sage said: "It promises to be a brilliant season."

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