CONTAINER PRODUCTION OF ORNAMENTAL NURSERY STOCK IN CALIFORNIA
In 1966, the ornamental nursery stock industry value was $45,724,178, only 2% of which are produced in fields (many of these end their life in containers). In 1960, nursery products represented 19.3% (1) of the wholesale value of all crops produced in California.
The greatest number of container plants are produced in southern California, particularly in the Los Angeles and Orange counties. These two counties have 53% of the nursery producers between them and represent some 496 nurseries (this number includes floriculture, propagation and fruit plant nurseries). The farm gate value of ornamentals produced in these two counties is $33.9 million (56%) compared with the total farm gate value of $60.2 million.
Success of container production in California is due to:
- suitable temperature,
- low rainfall,
- long sunshine hours, and
- relative freedom from winter frost.
The average annual minimum temperature is 30–40°F on the coast and 20–30°F inland.
Low summer rainfall gives the grower more control over plant growth by the proper use of irrigation equipment.
High daily sunshine hours increase photosynthetic activity, making it possible to obtain saleable plants in the shortest space of time.
Because of freedom from frost and suitable air temperatures, plants are actively growing throughout most of the year.
The rise in human population has created a shortage of plants for new housing developments. Export of plants in the spring to other States where the climates are less favourable to the growth of container plants in the winter is also a related factor.