Wyevale Nurseries' Adam Dunnett said 2018 budgets were "ambitious" after 6% growth in 2017. He said exchange rates gave an advantage over overseas competition, as did biosecurity issues.
"British growers are in a good place and British growers with a good amount of shrubs are in a better place than a lot of general British growers. There are not enough shrubs around. A lot of people cut back and nurseries that did a good range focussed on herbaceous because it is a quick turnaround crop." He said continental nurseries also cut back as garden centres dropped A-Z plants displays and now there is undersupply. He said demand was only up slightly, but supply was "significantly" down.
He said one retailer told him he will pay more for a guaranteed supply, which is "unheard of".
He said plants in demand were those that are easy to look after and looked good in pots, suitable for small gardens and inexperienced gardeners. Phormium production is up 15% to 60,000 with 100,000 planned in three years, and he could have sold three times as many this year.
Craigmarloch Nurseries' Dougie Moore said the 15-acre Kilsyth grower, which upped production from 2013 to sell more to retailers and landscapers, is well-placed to fill the gap left when heather grower Kingfisher closed this year. He said the euro rate meant a lot of garden centres were looking towards homegrown plants and with a shrinking Scottish supply base, there were opportunities for Craigmarloch.
Hillier's Adam Dorber said garden centres were going back to A-Z displays in the "year of the shrub" and there remained a lack of product in the market.
Darby Nursery Stock/Morley's Nigel Goodall said: "People are buying shrubs again- they had gone out of favour and become hard to sell as people decorated their gardens with colour. But this spring was early so before the colour people bought good traditional shrubs."
He said camellia, rhododendron and roses had sold through. He added that because of plants selling well earlier in the year, autumn sales were looking good as garden centres stocked up.