With many BC residents preparing for another staycation this summer due to the pandemic, the increased interest in home gardening improvements has never been higher! Unfortunately, that also means that the supply of plant inventory is running low in many Canadian nurseries.
What is Causing the Plant Shortage?
COVID-19 and Changing Outdoor Perceptions
In 2020 and 2021, people found themselves spending more time at home. As a result, the demand for outdoor space transformations exploded! Home gardening is booming, and peoples’ desires to use the most out of their properties is booming with it.
These factors are illustrated within the BC Landscape Nursery Association’s (BCLNA) recent “Plant Something for Wellness” campaign which focuses on unifying the healing and wellness elements of the environment with horticultural initiatives throughout BC.
Started in 2016, the purpose is to challenge British Columbians to ‘Don’t Just Stand There… Plant Something BC!’ and in 2020, this campaign was especially successful. Plant inventory stock cleared, sales soared, and businesses needed to tap into their suppliers’ 2021 inventories just to meet the demand. This has ultimately lead to shortages which will effect the 2022 summer as well.
While this rise of horticultural love is no surprise to us, the result of dipping into subsequent years’ supply will effect future plant inventories for years to come across all sectors with the exception of annuals. Small plant inventories are especially dwindling at the moment. As a result, medium sized plants in 2021 were noticeably limited.
According to Hedy Dyck, COO of the BCLNA,
“For landscape projects, particularly those that were quoted late 2019 and early 2020, purchasers should connect with their growers to confirm there is product available and set aside. Every plant will be sold or contracted by early spring, requiring that purchasers act now to access plant material for their jobs next year.”
Furthermore, the changing urban perspective on sustainable, green cities to fight climate change concerns means the increased demand will unlikely slow down. Because of this rise in plant material demand, homeowners are going to need to be proactive about planning and pre-ordering materials for landscape projects.
Long delays for certain plants may begin and other nurseries and suppliers may resort to first-come-first-serve tactics for the rest of their plant distribution once yearly orders have been fulfilled.
Winterkill in the American South
A second large contributing factor to the 2021 plant shortages has come from harsh winters in the American South. In February 2021, Texas faced uncommonly freezing temperatures for that state. This has similarly caused a trickle down effect into the 2022 season.
The result of this harsh and rare storm was a large amount of winterkill that destroyed plants at nurseries and on residential properties.
The winterkill damages have caused increased American purchasing of plant material in BC. Coupled with the COVID-19 pandemic and peoples’ changing perceptions gardening, Texas and other Southern States have an even higher demand for plant material to replace all of the recent damages that occurred in February.
American outsourcing of plant supply from BC is raising plant prices, demand, and lowering supply here in Western Canada as a result.
What This Means For Your Upcoming Landscaping Project
If you are looking to revamp your backyard or outside space this summer, being proactive is key! Getting your plans in earlier rather then later may be the difference between having the plants you want versus having nothing to choose from.
Even if you prefer a do-it-yourself kind of project, contacting a plant nursery or supplier as soon as you can is the best way to get ahead of the recent sharp demand on plant material.
Please reach out to us in you want more information on the plant shortage. If you’ve got plans for the summer and want help getting access to the right plants, we can help with that too!