Oil prices force late start to plant-selling season

Orders being made later due to high energy costs.

High oil prices, rather than climate change, are causing the plant-selling season to start later, according to a leading grower. Managing director Peter Wood of Cambridgeshire-based young plant grower R Delamore believes the massive hike in oil prices 18 months ago means the industry is sending out young plants a week to 10 days earlier than in the past. “Oil price rises shocked everyone last year. It’s now making sense not to start plants too soon. They don’t grow well in January. This is happening across the board. Multiples tended to stock bedding very early but there are signs they’ve realised that’s not a good idea. They don’t sell it all and the plants they do sell people lose to frost. It’s nothing to do with global warming — it’s all due to the price of oil.” West Sussex-based Yoder Toddington managing director Patrick Bastow agreed: “For the past few years people have been ordering less before Christmas so they don’t have to heat plants over Christmas. “But more than that, people are being very cautious about ordering early because they’re waiting to see how the season goes. People are hedging their bets. They tend to be dropping later orders altogether. And according to [breeder] Fischer [for which Yoder is agent], that is happening across Europe.”

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