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I am a Landscaper and am interested in getting into growing plants for my jobs and maybe to supply other landscapers and possibly garden centres depending on how it goes. I am starting from scrath. Has anyone got any thoughts or advice or can you point me in any direction for advice.

Many Thanks

Learner Grower



Hello, i am in the same trade as yourself but specialise in soft landscaping and the maintaining of gardens, first things first have you got land to grow plants, if so what type of plants would you consider growing, eg annuals[will need polytunnel/greenhouse] perrenials, shrubs climbers etc, i have three allotments which over many years have been stocked with mainly perrenials that would otherwise have been thrown, most of the perrenials are clumpers so every couple of years they get divided and some will be used on planting schemes, if you do decide to grow your own then points to consider are the ground, the aspect, and would you have time to water them during long dry spells, as regards selling to garden centres etc then there are laws in place, to do with the plant breeders association which i think you need a licence for plant propagation, but not sure, on large planting schemes i use the horticultural suppliers, i take it you know your plants.

3 Sep, 2011


I'm the same as Julien - do design, soft landscaping and maintenance, and I too have stocks in my own garden of hardy perennial plants which get divided periodically which I then use in people's gardens. However, if you want to grow seriously, you really need greenhouses, and all the kit that goes with them such as capillary drip feed systems, sterilisation techniques, heating systems, etc., especially for the whole range of annuals and bedding which people require. Its pretty hard to compete on that level with the big boys, frankly - many small nurseries in this country have completely disappeared in the last 20 years.

3 Sep, 2011


3 independent nurseries near me that I know about, are facing closure due to among others things a big drop in sales this summer and huge watering bills this spring. Yet the garden centre near me is expanding and has just opened a 100 seater Cafe and a great deal of their plants come from abroad. Its all about trust when buying plants! I dont buy from unknown sellers.

3 Sep, 2011


There's no money in nurseries, Drc - the garden centres only make money because they by and large, only sell plants in flower, sell candles, furniture and other miscellaneous items, have cafes or restaurants to increase footfall, and turn the whole shebang into Father Christmas's grotto in winter. Go to my Wyevale in December and you're lucky to find a plant outside, the area's full of Christmas trees.

4 Sep, 2011


Sad situation.

4 Sep, 2011


Hi Guys,

Thank you for your replies, this is much appreciated.

I would only consider the commercial route in a few years if things went well and I found it easy and managble to grow and maintain. Now I want to grow the range that I use in Landscaping so that the plants can alwyas be used up.

As for land etc, I would be renting ground space. Someone last year had randomly put up tunnels and growing space. I think he was an electrican. Once he had them up I think he had not considered his next step. He discussed growing and watering plants for me and at the time I dismissed it, but thinking back this would be a good idea if I had a set rental amount per year. Unfortunatley I did not keep his number so I must do a bit of searching. Also as I am in Ireland, water rates do not apply here yet, fortunatley!

The range I use is a mix of trees, specimen plants, shrubs and Herbaceous. For example: Bamboo, Jap Maple, Buxus, Viburnum, Alpines, Agapanthus, Heuchera, Kniphofia, Ferns etc. I do have a good plant knowledge and I would know what to grow. Currently I spend approx. £20k anually with 3 or 4 local nurseries. I know they buy alot of the specimen plants from Holland and Italy and just whack on a decent markup which I am paying. As with the plants they grow, its mostly 2 and 3 litre shrubs and herbaceous. For example they were buying Lavender plugs in May at approx. 70p, growing them on for a few months and selling them to me at £2.95. I bought 30 for a hedge one moring recently and their earning here is £2.25 per plant = £67.50. Ok, there is a minimal cost to them for compost and some pots etc, but I sort of think why did'nt I have the balls to buy the plugs and grow them. With a 20k annual spend, less their markup I think I could save a good few grand per year! The issue is I do not have the capital sitting in spring to go to Holland and purchase large orders. My other worry is my current busy schedule and family life, would I have the time for this! If I went down the renting route this could solve my problem I think!

I suppose what I am wanting to find out is have any of you guys made a saving this way. I understand Julien and Bamboo have grown some stuff and used it in Landscaping. Has this saved you money and have you not been tempted to turn it larger scale.

I suppose the nurseries are convenient but I think I could save some real money here and it may lead to something bigger. At the minute with my design and plant supply I am making my wage but I want to make money not just to be greedy but to do the things I need to at this stage in life such as buy a site, build a house etc. I am early 30s with a wife and two young kids.

Has anyone in my position had the inititive and went for it, and has it worked?

The range I would be interested in is shr

5 Sep, 2011


I decided it was way too much trouble, frankly - stock grown in glasshouses isn't simple at all - infestation and disease are common, and need to be guarded against and treated for, the plants require regular attention and potting up, temperature and airflow controls must be maintained, capillary watering systems must also be maintained, made me tired just thinking about it. Current problems in growing stock in glasshouses are serious too - downy mildew is a real headache for growers, as are Necrotic Spot and Tomato Spotted Wilt virus, not to mention the old problem with whitefly. Sounds like its easy, just letting stuff grow in glasshouses, but actually, it's not as easy as it sounds once you start investigating, and you'd need at least one permanent staff member and probably more to do all the work. Only you can decide whether its worth it - I decided it wasn't.
If this is about money and making more of it, go where the money is - which is garden maintenance contracts. That's where people make oodles on a regular basis - if you can stand the tedium!

5 Sep, 2011


Thanks Bamboo,

This gives me something to think about. I do not like the thought of maintenance either. I do a few private garden tidy-ups for previous clients in the winter but I can really only charge for my time and fuel, but I suppose it is a few quid at a hard time of the year.

I am still keen to grow. I might keep to the purchasing plugs side of things and skip the propagation in these early years, maybe dabble with the easily propagated ones. Alot of my suppliers seen to pot on these plugs in May / June and just leave them outside to grow on, so pretty hassle free besides watering and weeding.

I will keep pondering...


5 Sep, 2011


You may be interested to know that I live in a block of flats which employs 'gardeners' to keep the extensive gardens tidy and to do things like replace light bulbs outside and on the landings, and clean and hoover the landings each week. The team consists of one proper gardener, and the others are just labourers, really - real gardening doesn't take place, but the gardens look very tidy, and those of us who live here who are interested take over bits and plant and tend ourselves (well, two of us do anyway). I don't know what they charge now, but London rates for this kind of thing would be between £30 and £90 per hour, possibly more to cover Public Liability insurance, etc., and depending on how many people are on the team - 4 hours a week, multiply by 52, you get the picture... But I'd prefer to slit my wrists rather than earn my living doing that!

5 Sep, 2011


Hello, yes i tend to agree with bamboo, there is so much time and effort needed in getting this off the ground, and i myself have seen small nurseries fall by the wayside, and with a bleak economic future ahead then carefull consideration is needed, however sometimes you have to go with the gut feeling in life, yes its good to get advice and you will get good and negative feedback, if nyou dont go through with it then your in that situation through your life of what if, would it of worked etc, so could you not start of small, see how it goes and employ someone that could tend and lookafter the plants for a couple of days a week and then work along side you on the landscaping, you could start by growing easy to manage plants, like perrenials, just an idea here, you could set aside x amount of money and purchase a wide selection of the clump forming perrenials, plant these out and in a couple of years divide your stock and then again a couple of years later, by doing so you you will get into a rotation system that every year you will have a large amount of stock to use on landscaping jobs, once you have the innitial outlay paid back to yourself then you will be making good profits and then you can possibly introduce further stock, you have to look at this venture long term, what you put in now in terms of effort should reward you later, but keep it small to start with and creep and grow, hope it works out for you if you do go ahead and would be nice to keep us all informed, Bon chance.

5 Sep, 2011


the other thing about garden centres is they are so expensive but tend to be in the right place as people flock to pay well over the top for there plants etc . id stick with landscaping and find a good plant suplier . we have a brilliant victorean walled garden nursery near us called didlington between mundford and kyngs lynne excuse my spelling . im realy envious as id love to be a landscape gardener but mainly the arcitecture hard standing type parts but my back isnt up to it . good luck anyway .

5 Sep, 2011

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