TRIALLING AND DEVELOPMENT OF GARDEN CENTRE PLANTS
Garden trials can highlight the horticultural value of plant cultivars but give little indication of their performance as a commercial product; this requires a combination of nursery-based and market trials. The main drivers for a commercial nursery to trial and introduce new cultivars are to sustain or improve profit margins and market share. Market feedback provides the context for selecting cultivars for nursery-based trials but availability of plant material from within current supply chains is the dominant factor affecting the range that will actually be evaluated particularly on nurseries that do not have their own propagation facilities. For those nurseries that supply the mass market, the objective of a trials and development programme is to develop a reliable product that will appeal to the customer at the point of sale. The reliability of production can be determined through evaluating crop uniformity, pest and disease resistance and rate of crop development using a range of schedules, facilities and container sizes. The potential appeal of a product can be strongly influenced by information provided at the point of sale but the ultimate test is performance at the garden centre. The application of these processes within the UK is reviewed with specific reference to bulb, herbaceous, and alpine crops.
Emmett, M.R. (2013). TRIALLING AND DEVELOPMENT OF GARDEN CENTRE PLANTS. Acta Hortic. 980, 119-124
market share, market testing, plant breeders, product development, profit-margins, supply chain