Revealed: The Green Secrets of Commercial Plant Production - Forest Interior

Revealed: The Green Secrets of Commercial Plant Production

Have you ever been curious about the intricacies of large-scale plant production? As a seasoned horticulturalist with over 2.5 years in a commercial nursery, I'm here to unveil the complex process behind bringing plants to the market. Discover the surprising journey that takes place in the horticulture industry.

1. Plant Selection and Licensing:

Unveiling the Secrets of Large-Scale Plant Production

The journey of a plant's commercial life begins with meticulous selection. Companies must identify plant varieties with market potential and excellent transportability to retailers. They also assess market competition for the chosen plant. Crucially, they check for Plant Breeders Rights. If the plant is protected, obtaining a license from the breeder or their representative is essential. This often involves paying a royalty per plant, ranging from a few pence to as much as 50p for trees.

2. Trial and Error:

Cracking the Code of Plant Cultivation

Next, a trial batch of plants is ordered to determine their suitability for large-scale propagation. Factors like cost-effective propagation, climate adaptability, and disease resistance are carefully examined. Many nurseries opt to purchase plugs or cuttings from global growers, saving costs and time.

Trialing a plant can be a year-long or even longer process. During this period, factors like color, vigor, habit, pot-fill, and ideal soil conditions are meticulously examined. Should the company decide to propagate the plant themselves, they also compare the cuttings to ensure consistency.

Plants growing on a commercial plant nursery

3. Progression Through Stages:

Scaling Up for Success

For successful trial plants, they go through multiple stages of potting, eventually becoming mother plants. Larger batches are produced, often numbering in the hundreds or thousands, to gauge the response from retailers. This stage involves constant repotting, trimming, disease prevention, the addition of beneficial organisms to control pests, heating, weeding, watering, and feeding. The amount of work involved is extensive, even for just one plant.

4. Dispatch Preparations:

Preparing for the Market

Once ready, the plants are carefully picked, placed on conveyors, and cleaned. Topsoil or bark may be added, along with any labels required by retailers.

5. Danish Trollies and Wrapping:

Ensuring Safe Transit

The plants are loaded onto Danish trollies and expertly wrapped to ensure secure transit. This step is crucial, as these delicate cargo can easily be damaged during transport.

6. Delivery and Distribution:

Reaching Your Local Retailer

From this point, the plants are loaded onto trucks for delivery. Alternatively, some nurseries may send them to a finishing center where they are further cleaned and barcoded. This ensures the right plants end up on the correct trollies for the various retailers scattered across the country.

7. The Retailer's Gamble:

Navigating the Retailer's Risk

One unique aspect of the horticulture industry is the retailer's ordering process. Retailers place orders for plants a year in advance. However, when the time comes to dispatch the plants, retailers may change their orders for various reasons, such as unexpected weather conditions affecting sales. This means that nurseries bear the majority of the risk in this industry. No deposit is typically taken from retailers, a standard practice across the horticulture sector.

In conclusion, the commercial production of plants is a captivating and intricate process that combines science, art, and business. The next time you see a beautiful plant at your local nursery, you'll have a deeper appreciation for the journey it took to get there. The world of horticulture is a blend of science, art, and business, and it continues to grow and evolve to meet the demands of plant enthusiasts and gardeners everywhere.

Plant from commercial nursery on garden patio

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