Thompson & Morgan (T&M) has left TV shopping channel QVC, where it was the biggest plant supplier, to work with smaller rival Ideal Shopping Direct (ISD) group as exclusive plant supplier from 12 January.
T&M client business head James Edmonds said T&M sales had fallen as QVC brought in more suppliers. "We have a good relationship with QVC but QVC always made it clear from the off that they were looking at adding new suppliers," he added.
"We've been with them 12 or 13 years and when we started we were the main supplier, but they've brought in more over the years."
QVC presenter Richard Jackson said: "T&M told QVC they wanted to change to Ideal World. They have the opportunity to have shows entirely with T&M plants.
"Ideal World is much smaller than QVC but T&M will be sole supplier and will decide what plants and which shows, but they will have to do more shows for the same amount of business. This was triggered by QVC gardening sales increasing but T&M sales not increasing as much as hoped."
Edmonds said QVC sales were worth several million pounds a year and ISD sales are likely to start more "slowly" than that.
Marshalls/Unwins, De Jager, Park Promotions/Raymond Evison, Claire Austin, Whetman Pinks and Hayloft Plants are existing QVC suppliers. Gardening Express debuted on the channel this month. Owner Chris Bonnett said he hopes to sell at least £1m worth of plants through QVC in 2014.
"I'm hopeful we will take a lot of what T&M were doing but we want to supply bigger plants as opposed to plugs. It's not easy to build customer loyalty so working with a trusted brand like QVC can only work in our favour."
T&M will continue to work with QVC Europe, in Italy and Germany.
Shopping channel Ideal World broadcasts live to 23 million households across the UK, 17 hours a day. QVC UK has one million active customers and 20 million viewers a year.
In January 2010, Ideal Shopping acquired Lead the Good Life, under which it runs gardenbargains.com.
Partners aiming to take advantage of business opportunities
"We believe this partnership presents a great opportunity to establish us as a market leader in the gardening category, just as we have in crafts."
Mike Hancox, chief executive officer, Ideal Shopping Direct
"We have plans to dramatically increase the range and quality of beautiful plants and tasty vegetables available to Ideal's TV home shopping customers."
John May, chief executive, Thompson & Morgan