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Re: Mail Order Nurseries

I'm sure Gene can speak to this with more accuracy than I can, but
from what I know about the business, most nurseries do buy in plugs
or liners for some things.  The best do this because, as you pointed
out, not everybody can grow everything well.  But, the best nurseries
are still working on propagating something - whatever it is that
interests them most, usually.   To me, that's what a nursery is - a
place that grows plants...otherwise it's just a retailer:-)

There's also a lot of horse trading among nursery folk - right Gene? 

Marge Talt, zone 7 Maryland
Editor:  Gardening in Shade
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> From: james singer <jsinger@igc.org>
> I think you're right about most nurseries buying stuff to re-sell. 
> Maybe all of them do to a certain extent, if you include contract 
> growers among the suppliers. The nursery I work for probably buys 
> least 75 percent of what it sells in landscapes and retail sales.
> There are a couple of reasons for this--one, even with 140+ acres,
> don't have enough room to grow everything we need, and two, not 
> everyone is good at growing everything. So we concentrate on
> the things we're good at [a dozen kinds of palms, live oaks,
> trees, and a very few other things]. We also do a brisk wholesale 
> business in the stuff we grow.
> The business philosophy here has always been one of "growing for
> future," so we don't grow a lot of tomorrow's sales [small
> plants]. As a rule, we grow the big-bucks stuff and the high-demand

> stuff.
> The counties in this area all require a certain number of 30-gallon

> water-thrifty trees in every new landscape. The number required
> on the size of the property. One of the more popular "permitted"
> is the live oak [Q. virginiana], so we grow lots of them. At any
> time, we've got close to a thousand of them ready to go into the
> We also have business relationships with others where we tend to
> growing of, say, coconut palms on their "plantation." They get a
> write-off and we get an inexpensive source of somewhat expensive 
> plants. At some point, a successful nursery--mail order or not--has
> to face the expansion issue. I would guess that contract growers is
> best option for most.

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