I just purchased a retail greenhouse business i was wondering if you could tell me the best companies to buy annual plugs wholesale........thanks
Welcome Turk. How about you tell us a little about yourself and your new greenhouse. What area of the country are you in? How large is your new place? Do you intend to grow just bedding plants, or containers, baskets, etc.? Year round, or just Spring? Who is your competition? What kind of "annuals" do you want to grow? Just the basics, or harder to find, more unique items? Seed propagated plugs, vegetative, both? "Best" is subjective - the companies that meet YOUR needs are the "best" for you. Are you looking for best price? Best quality? Best service? Best deliverability? You won't find one company that is "best" at all of the criteria.
For quite some time, I used Park's Wholesale division for plugs, liners, and seeds. I found it to be 'best' in all of the above criteria. ;-)
You'll need to contact them for a hard copy wholesale catalog.
Rhizo, have you used them lately? Just curious if their many ownership/management changes over the past couple of years have impacted their service.
Where are you located?
I've received great plugs from Euro and Takao. I go thru a west coast broker, and you may find it far easier to go thru a broker than dealing with individual growers.
Gave up on Ball as a broker--so many mistakes when they entered my order, it would take months to try and straighten it out. Too, too time consuming.
The plugs of rex begonias and hibiscus and other rooted and unrooted cuttings from NC Farms I got this spring were very nice. The mandivilla was a little rushed, not quite rooted in, but they gave me a credit on it. The unrooted cuttings were great too.
The plugs of the basjoo and other bananas that I've been getting from Sunshine Horticulture are the best I've found so far. Better than any other place so far. Their alocasias are great too. Their prices are better too. They don't have everything, but are really good on what they do have.
I grow heirloom tomatoes and a lot of things from seed, I've found Mountain Valley seeds in Utah to be very reasonable. They don't have the very newest things usually, but in what they do have, the price is really right. And the seeds are good, fresh and well packaged, come quickly or they tell you why not and give you an option to cancel.
Another place I've found that has a large selection on seeds is Hazzard's Greenhouse in Michigan. They sell their seeds in two or three size options, so that you don't end up with 5000 of each seed unless you want to. I have a smaller place that that might be more important to me than you. But it allows me to grow more types of plants because I don't have to spend as much on the seeds and carry them over.
I hope this helps, it never hurts to have someone point you in the right direction.
I'm not getting on here and bashing any coumpany though, but I will tell you the "winners". I'd hate to have someone tell bad stuff about my company on the internet, it takes too long to build up a good reputation, and my experience might have been an isolated incident.
Sandy @ Northern Tropics, Muncie, IN
goblugal, its actually been a few years since I was in the greenhouse 'biz', so I've actually not kept up as well as I might have. I HOPE that Park's is still doing a good job.
Sandy, I absolutely appreciate your policy about 'bashing', but sharing positive AND negative experiences regarding plant quality, customer service, price, etc. is a terrific benefit of a gardening community such as the GardenWeb. It's even encouraged!
Even terrific companies make mistakes, but they are quick to solve the problem and turn an unhappy customer into a devoted one.
I consider it a service if someone can not only 'steer me in the right direction', but save me some misery and money by steering me away from the companies that can't get their act together.
I'm assuming a new owner of a retail greenhouse business needs to hit the ground running and can use all the assistance he can find.
Networking with others in the industry is a great advantage. There can be a world of difference in services and product provided by others. I gave an honest opinion based on several years' worth of experience. I don't consider that bashing. I only wish I'd had the benefit of more info when I was promoted into this position and had to learn on the job:)
And why do people ask a question and then disappear? Darn--how badly does Turk need help if he can't help us help him???
There are a few really major growers of plugs and liners. Emerald Coast Growers and Walters Gardens are two of them. These people got to be major by providing a combination of good product and good customer service.
If you can meet their minimums, you can deal with them directly. If you need to use brokers, there are dozens of good ones around. Do some research with Google, and you'll start to put together the structure of the green trade.
We use Skagit a lot.
Here is a link that might be useful: Skagit,
all the above are great resources, such as emreald coast, walters gardens, north carolina farm,, euro america etc, however I can't stress enough for someone new to the nursery business get a broker. They will take care of everything for you. My broker tracks all my order history, always has up-to-date listing of everyone in the business' stock, deals with refunds from bad shipments so I don't have to, and he even gives me all the new samples he gets from the trade shows he does. I have been in the nursery business for 30 years and the years I ran my operation without a broker was a headache.