Late blooms delay plant sales

Recent warm weather has delayed winter planting as customers also swap to cheaper products.

The recent spell of warm weather has delayed bedding sales because plants that would have been replaced are still in flower, growers have said. The economic climate is also seeing customers opting for cheaper options.

"It has been a fairly steady autumn and we're finding it quite tough," said Nursery Fresh Plants sales and marketing director Peter Hull.

"The weather was a bit too good and brought everything on early. Hanging baskets and bedding displays are still looking good, so people aren't digging up and swapping plants for the winter. Also people's pounds are harder to get hold of these days. We're in for a tough year or two."

Kernock Park Plants business development manager Mark Taylor agreed that business was quieter. "The warm spell has extended the bedding plant season and plants are still in flower," he said. "People aren't replacing them and you're going to have space in beds. I'm not sure how that's going to affect our side of the business."

WD Smith director Mike Smith said the impact of the weather was not unexpected and overall the season was going well, although people are opting for cheaper products.

"September was poor but October is improving," he said. "The normal six-packs are doing fine but the pot stuff has been harder to sell."

Sticking to orders is the new rule for suppliers

"Everybody has taken what they've ordered and overall it has been a good autumn season. You can be too optimistic these days. We grow what's been ordered and that's the way you have to do it. You don't have that early frost anymore and people's gardens have been looking great. You have to accept it." - Duncan Taylor, owner, Arden Lea Nursery

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