Proculture sells young plant business and lays off 30 staff

Poor plant sales force second big nursery merger in a month

Proculture Plants has made 30 staff redundant after selling its young plant business to R Delamore for several hundred thousand pounds on Monday. The move is the second big nursery merger in a month, after that of Bransford and Webbs (HW, 14 July), and directors of Delamore and Proculture agree it will not be the last, owing to poor plant sales in the past two years. Both Delamore managing director Peter Wood and Proculture sales and marketing director Derek Jarman have said medium-sized nurseries are struggling because of a lack of good managers and rising costs. Two-thirds of Evesham-based Proculture’s business has moved to Wisbech, with Jarman, who will split his time for a year between Delamore and the rest of Proculture’s business, renamed Knowle Hill Nurseries. Knowle Hill will employ 16 staff and will be owned by Phil Insley. Production will switch to growing finished plants for multiples and independent garden centres. The 220-staff Delamore will grow Proculture’s plants, including Pensham Penstemon and Chile scabious at its new £5 million nursery, which opens next month after an 18-month build. Wood said: “Proculture was struggling because demands on young plant firms are rising. They require good facilities to produce the quality.” Jarman said: “Delamore is more dynamic and forward-thinking.”

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