Growers attending the British Protected Ornamental Association's (BPOA) South Coast Nursery Tour last week said they were struggling to find plants to meet demand, while the heat is causing problems for plants such as primroses.
"The bedding season is just coming into its stride, but it's too hot for things like primroses," said Blue Ribbon Plants owner Walter Back. "The timing is a problem as well. This hot weather will push things over the edge. Primroses normally go up to mid April, but this year that's going to change. There is too much heat for any plant. The light is good but it's too hot."
David Ball, director at Lincolnshire-based grower Neame Lea Nurseries, added: "Things are going really well with this weather. Bedding is just starting up. It's normally later but with the weather it's all starting up earlier, so there's a bit of scrambling around finding plants.
"There's a lot of demand. Normally the last sales of bulbs are at Easter and then bedding starts up. It's a bit backward this year but we have to follow demand."
Almodington Nurseries, which supplies vegetable plants to Sainsbury's, Homebase and B&Q, also said the weather was bringing strong demand. Owner Chris Wade added: "Usually customers ask for week 13 deliveries and then the weather's bad so it gets put back a week. But last weekend almost all of our stuff went out."
Syngenta FloriPro Services area sales manager Pete Gilman said: "I wonder what's happening with garden centres. It's always the way that something unseasonal can cause problems because they're not expecting it. They plan things out, but then you get weather like this and there's a shortage."