Garden centres must sell new plant benefits says Lowaters boss

Lowaters Nursery director Charles Carr raises plant education issue for garden centre customers.

Consumers need to be educated about the benefits of new plants because most are unaware of what they are, a nurseryman has claimed.

Lowaters Nursery director Charles Carr told an International Plant Propagators Society conference that most garden centre customers do not generally know that new plants exist.

"Most consumers don't know there are new plants and are amazed that plant breeders rights exist, so perhaps there's an education point to be made," he said.

"People buy on impulse. They buy what's pretty then go home and find out about the plant. We need to put the information right through the supply chain. Few people walk into a garden centre and know what they want. In supermarkets, people aren't using shopping lists but looking for offers. Garden centre customers are learning from that buying behaviour."

Passing on information is the key to the issue, he said: "Everyone has the internet in their pockets. Not every garden centre has staff who know everything about plants. Now they can scan QR codes to get information.

"If someone takes a plant home and it succeeds, they will tell their friends and we are more likely to benefit from it. The more people we can tell about the benefits of a plant, the better."

Carr noted that a problem with new plants is that they often go to liner producers and are produced in large volumes. "New plants are sold to a range of nurseries and we are all chasing the same customers so they can become price-sensitive crops," he said. "What should be premium-price plants are expensive liners and the price is being beaten down."

Carr said growers and retailers have to be able to have confidence in the quality of new plants. "New plants need to have long-term success. You put a lot of effort and expertise into introducing them. If a plant doesn't perform well, a lot of people won't blame the plant, they'll blame themselves."

He added: "A lot of people in garden centres are not knowledgeable. We need customers to keep coming back and so we need to know that plants will work.

"Introducing new plants keeps us interested and gives the sales representatives something to talk about. There can also be production benefits. If you have something that flowers for longer, you have a longer selling period, which is useful in a year like this one where there was only a two-week selling period. Also, new plants can be more compact and have faster production."

Conference - Expert talks and nursery visits

The three-day International Plant Propagators Society conference took place at East Malling Research and presented a range of talks by industry experts and nursery visits.

The topics covered included marketing, new approaches to dealing with pests and diseases and peat-free production.

Delegates also went on tours of Palmstead Nurseries, Brogdale, East Malling Research and Wyevale East Nurseries.


Have you registered with us yet?

Register now to enjoy more articles and free email bulletins

Sign up now
Already registered?
Sign in

Read These Next

Business Planning - Brace now for Brexit impact

Business Planning - Brace now for Brexit impact

Neville Stein advises how businesses can act now to protect themselves against higher plant import costs after the Brexit deadline.

Horticulture careers - plugging the skills gap

Horticulture careers - plugging the skills gap

Bespoke apprenticeships and internal training are helping firms to get ahead in skills-shortage horticulture, says Rachel Anderson.

Tractors: market roundup

Tractors: market roundup

Manufacturers are working to provide solutions to many challenges. Sally Drury looks at their newest models.


Opinion... Why no-deal Brexit should worry you

Opinion... Why no-deal Brexit should worry you

Whether you voted leave or remain all those years ago, a "no-deal" Brexit should worry you.

I will not be importing oaks this season. Will you?

I will not be importing oaks this season. Will you?

I find myself in a difficult situation. A few weeks ago I was fortunate to be present to hear details of imminent changes to regulations concerning Oak Processionary Moth (OPM) and oak trees. I heard details, asked questions and probed the implications of these changes. That may not sound like a difficult position to be in, yet I am uneasy.

Opinion... Better targets to tackle pollution

Opinion... Better targets to tackle pollution

Lobby groups jumping onto fashionable campaigns, often to promote their own interests, can do much more harm than good. Take, for example, the move against black polythene plant pots and containers.


Follow us on:
  • Facebook
  • LinkedIn
  • Twitter
  • Google +

HORTICULTURE WEEK BUSINESS Awards 2019

The Horticulture Week Business Awards is now open for entries

Horticulture Jobs
More Horticulture Jobs

Horticulture Week Top 60 Ornamentals nurseries

See our exclusive RANKING of ornamentals nurseries by annual turnover plus the FULL REPORT AND ANALYSIS

Tim Edwards

Boningales Nursery chairman Tim Edwards on the business of ornamentals production
 

Read Tim Edwards

Pest & Disease Tracker bulletin 

The latest pest and disease alerts, how to treat them, plus EAMU updates, sent direct to your inbox.

Sign up here

Are you a landscape supplier?

Horticulture Week Landscape Project Leads

If so, you should be receiving our new service for Horticulture Week subscribers delivering landscape project leads from live, approved, planning applications across the UK.

Peter Seabrook

Inspiration and insight from travels around the horticultural world
 

Read more Peter Seabrook articles