Peter Holman, owner of amenity horticulture specialist Peter Holman Associates, said a cheaper range of material such as F2 pelargoniums rather than F1s and mixed schemes rather than designed bedding are becoming more typical.
The 2013 bedding season saw planting down about 20 per cent in floral displays in London, the south and the South East, he added.
"I expect that trend will continue until there are some pennies about," said Holman. "Floral displays tend to be bottom of the heap, but there are real opportunities for colourful displays that are not necessarily annual or biennial and I'm hopeful local authorities will continue but with a change of style. They will be slightly more simplistic displays because officers have less time."
Midlands grower RC Smith said competition to supply councils is tough. "It's the same money or less than 10 years ago. Everyone is cutting each others' throats looking for business."
Will Lamb, managing director at Baginton in Coventry, gave up growing for retailers last year to concentrate on amenity supply. After the changes Lamb had time to win more council contracts this year - a total of 15.
Nigel Crosby, director at Cheshire grower Crosby's Nurseries, says he has increased the number of councils that he supplies to about 10 this year. He explains: "We have more, which is unusual. Either our prices are right or there aren't the people growing it."