Plant Shortages Expected in 2021

via BC Landscape Nursery Association - For Immediate Release
Nov 4, 2020

2021 Plant Inventory in BC - Shortages are Anticipated

The effect of COVID-19 on the landscape horticulture industry has been significant. While the industry was shut down for a short period of time in the early spring of 2020, consumers, needing something to do while they were at home, caused quite a rebound of sales and interest. The BCLNA had already been promoting the benefits of plants indoors and outdoors with its ‘PlantSomething for Wellness’ program, with people readily connecting with the many positive aspects of plants and plantings. When people were at home for a significant period of time, they became much more aware of their surroundings, which spurred even more sales through retail nurseries as well as landscape services.

The large quantity of stock sold during spring 2020 cleared out much of the plant inventory. In addition, many growers started selling into the subsequent years’ stock, to ensure that demand was met.

The result of this extremely successful 2020 is plant shortages in 2021, across all sectors except annuals. While growers are ramping up production, not having small stock to grow on for next year means that medium-sized plants in particular may not be available. Caliper trees will also be in short supply.

Growers are reporting that retail clients are ordering and taking possession of next year’s requirements this fall, including payment for the purchase, to ensure adequate stock levels. This puts further pressure on the wholesale sector to allow customers to book plants, although not all plants may be available or ready at the time of shipment. In effect, it may be that when there is no pre-arranged booking contract to purchase plants, it will be ‘first come-first serve’. Purchasers may be spending more time looking for plants they need than ever before, and still, perhaps, not be able to find them.

For landscape projects, particularly those that were quoted late 2019 and early 2020, purchasers should connect with their growers to confirm there is product available and set aside. Every plant will be sold or contracted by early spring, requiring that purchasers act now to access plant material for their jobs next year. Where a landscape design specifies colours for annuals, it would be a good idea to contract a grower to grow them for you this fall.

Prices are already trending upwards as the inventory tightens up. Nurseries from the US are actively sourcing plants from BC to shore up their own inventories with what looks to be another stellar year as people buckle down - again - to living more at home.

Hedy Dyck, BCLNA Chief Operating Officer