Shopping for homeware, gardening tools and plants in the supermarket is a great way to save money. Over the spring and summer months, many supermarkets have offered customers great deals on both indoor and outdoor plants. However, a gardening expert has warned that “you get what you pay for” when you buy a supermarket plant.
The gardening expert said the quality of a plant can go down very quickly, so you need to buy the stock when it’s freshly delivered.
“Find out a delivery day for when they get the stock in and get it there and then,” he added.
Plants can become stressed if they’re not watered regularly and are kept in the wrong conditions.
Chris said: “Even if they dry out once in the shop, then get watered and recover, they’re still going to have been stressed and that can cause problems.”
The Gardening Express owner said supermarkets do offer some “good bargains” for consumers but that garden centres can be “just as competitive”.
Buying a plant in a supermarket may be more of an “impulse” purchase than a carefully thought-out one.
You may come out with a plant while doing your weekly shop, for example, and find it’s not suitable for your garden.
Chris said if you go to a garden centre or a specialist, you are likely to get more advice or buy something that’s more suitable for your needs.
In 2017, Gardeners’ World presenter Monty Don told BBC Radio 4’s You and Yours said there are “vast wholesale nurseries” that are supplying supermarkets.
He said: “You have these vast wholesale nurseries now supplying supermarkets, and that’s a diminution of choice, that’s bad.
“You get lots of exactly the same thing, mass-produced to be as cheap as possible.”
Monty said he’s a “huge fan” of independent nurseries where you are more likely yo get expertise.
However, Waitrose told the BBC its plants were supplied by two reputable nurseries who supply only garden centres.
ASDA said it works with a network of expert growers to ensure their plants are of good quality and Sainsbury’s said it has a longstanding relationship with its suppliers – many of whom were family businesses.
Martin Simmons, Director of Operations for the Horticultural Trades Association added: “People often make impulse purchases of plants in supermarkets and if this then encourages them to buy more plants then this is good for the industry and helps to grow the market.
“Buying a plant in a supermarket may be the first step for some consumers, particularly younger ones.
“If this grabs their interest they will naturally seek out garden centres and retail nurseries.”