Types of Nurseries
In the past, nurseries were involved in almost all aspects of the production and culture of plants. They grew a wide variety of plants, and they sold them both wholesale and retail, as well as supplying a wide range of allied products and services. Today, all but the largest nurseries tend to specialise.
Production nurseries, which are also known as propagation or wholesale nurseries, propagate plants. They then either sell their product directly to retail outlets, landscapers and council parks departments, or wholesale them to growing-on nurseries.
Success of production nurseries is affected by:
- Innovation – supplying new varieties to the market or developing new ways of growing and presenting existing varieties allows the grower to develop new markets.
- Specialisation – growing fewer lines in larger quantities allows the grower to improve efficiencies in the nursery.
- Forecasting trends and meeting market demands – knowing what plants customers want, or are likely to want, and growing them in sufficient quantities allows the grower to meet consumers’ requirements, and through doing this, maintain customer loyalty.
Growing-on nurseries buy bulk quantities of seedlings or small plants from propagators. At the time of purchase, the plants are growing in plugs, trays or tubes; the plants are then
potted into larger containers and grown on for a period of time, adding value to the nursery’s original purchase.
In addition to increasing the plants’ size, specialised growing techniques, such as topiary, may be used to add value to the plant during the growing-on phase.
The most critical aspect of production in growing-on nurseries is developing a quality product for the retail market. At the time of resale, every plant must be at its peak, displaying healthy, vigorous and sturdy growth. The plant must be presented appropriately, in a clean, attractive pot, with fresh potting mix (no weeds or residues on the surface) and appropriate support (small stake or trellis) if necessary. Labels must also be supplied (but not attached).
Retail Nurseries/Garden Centres
Retail nurseries buy plants from production/propagation nurseries and resell them at a profit. ‘Green-life’ (a term used by the industry to distinguish plants from other nursery products) sold by the retail sector includes seedlings, bulbs, containerised and bare-rooted
plants and trees. In addition, garden centres sell associated products such as dry goods (pots, packaged potting mixes, fertilisers, sprays) and bulk landscaping materials.
There is an increasing emphasis on the supply of ‘lifestyle products and services’ in retail outlets, such as outdoor furniture, gift lines, display gardens, cafés and landscaping services.
Learn to improve your prospects or business performance
ACS offer a wide range of professional training courses suitable for business owners, managers, or staff. Learn how to properly run a nursery operation, or give your staff training to improve the service they are able to provide to your customers. With greater knowledge and expertise you are better placed to realise the potential of a more competitive business offering. View our nursery courses here.
If you have any questions or want to know more, get in touch with our specialist Horticulture tutors. They will be pleased to answer your questions or help you in choosing a course to study.
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