For many years now, the garden centre industry has had its hands tied when it comes to buying houseplants. The increased costs and bureaucracy associated with more stringent customs and plant health requirements have meant having to buy in bulk from Europe, often with frustration over delivery speed and the inevitable associated waste. Furthermore, the sector has been unable to respond to a growing customer demand for peat-free houseplants - put simply, it has not been an option from the existing supply chain.
However, at last, there appears to be a solution, and perhaps surprisingly for some, it means buying British. The company at the vanguard of this approach is The Horti House, part of Double H nurseries, a family business based on the south coast of England which has been growing and sourcing plants for over 60 years. Launching this February, The Horti House is set to provide a new range to garden centres of British-grown orchids and houseplants, the latter grown in 97% peat-free media. Perhaps even more significantly, though, their service aims to replace the need to buy by the trolley, providing the option for orders as low as 12 plants per pack, and with next-day delivery.
Ed Hill from The Horti House explains, ‘We are on a mission to transform houseplant wholesale, ensuring garden centres can get the right amount of plants at the right time. This avoids the significant costs of importing; involves less paperwork, and helps to minimise waste. We have consulted across the sector to develop a more responsive and effective system that, in turn, will drive value and maximise the profitability of garden centres and florists.
Small-scale orders are fulfilled by sending plants in boxes via the carrier network. The company has a proven track record in this respect, having already distributed over 500,000 plants through this route. Options will also be available to scale up to pallet or trolley deliveries as required, and plans are underway to consolidate supply from other, like-minded UK growers. Ultimately, The Horti House aims to create a one-stop shop focusing on British grown, orchids and other peat-free houseplants.
Garden retail consultant Brian Redman has been working with the team to help develop and launch this new initiative. He says, ‘This is an exciting opportunity that has the potential to revolutionise the way in which garden centres order houseplants. The ‘just in time’ method will ensure the very freshest plants can be stocked whilst at the same time reducing red tape and unnecessary transport miles. It’s a win-win prospect’
The green plant range initially available to order includes calathea, ficus, alocasia and monstera varieties, but with more plants currently being tested for the market. Meanwhile, the company’s British-grown phalaenopsis could help to combat the soaring cost of their European equivalent. Brian Redman explains, ‘The impact of the energy crisis has really hit greenhouses across the continent, pushing up prices for orchid production. Our British-grown products are at a more competitive price point, with the added advantage of flexibility in order volumes and delivery times’.
For more information:
The Horti House