Question regarding commercial advertising

Ellen Hornig
Wed, 20 Jun 2018 08:55:24 PDT
As a former nursery owner, I hate to say what I'm about to say, but....

With respect to plants (not bulbs) produced by big growers and marketed by
big nurseries and box stores, I think that in general the quality I get
from those venues is far BETTER than I what I get from smaller specialty
growers.  On the whole, these plants establish just fine. The selections
are limited, of course, but the fact that the merchandise is in and out in
a short time is much in its favor.  When I buy from a certain large local
grower, I not infrequently find that the plant has been carried over from
last season and is not the better for it. They persist in putting stuff out
in their yard that should have been discarded. The box stores either put
inferior material on clearance or return it to the grower (and no, I
wouldn't want to be a grower and be treated that way).

I will say that one practice of the big growers that I really loathe is
putting several cuttings into a pot to make up a "large" plant quickly.
Last year the large local grower, which also buys in a lot of material, was
marketing rhododendrons produced by an outfit whose name starts with "M",
and I was impressed by their fullness until I looked more closely and say
there were actually three plants in each pot.  Imagine my amusement when I
checked back in a few weeks and saw that some of the containers were
blooming in more than one color.  Whoops.

As to bulbs (to stay on topic here), I've never found anything very
exciting at Home Depot, but any true bulbs I've gotten have been fine, have
persisted and multiplied, and have been correctly labeled.

My bottom line is that I wouldn't shop at box stores for unusual plants,
because you're barking up the wrong tree.  But many of the growers they buy
from do a very nice job, and personally I think it's something of a myth
(cherished by plant people) that mass-produced plants aren't "doers".

Ellen Hornig
Shrewsbury MA USA

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