Is this true?

Adrian Higgins has an interesting article in The Washington Post titled “How to be a better plant buyer”. The Post has “put together an illustrated tutorial available online” he says. Where online is hard to say as I could not find a link anywhere in the article.

What caught my attention was a quote by Warren Quinn, vice president for operations of the American Nursery and Landscape Association. According to the Post “Quinn edits the American Standard for Nursery Stock, a trade manual that establishes standards, specifications and guidelines for nursery plants as they make their way through an industry with a lot of middlemen and players. The holly you buy at the garden center may have been through three growers and two or three nurseries before it reaches you”.

While I am familiar with the nursery industry in California I don’t know a lot about the rest of the country. Is this true that a plant goes through three growers and two nurseries before it’s sold at retail?

Here in California the Wholesale Nursery, let’s say Monrovia grows its plants from cuttings, tissue culture, etc. Once the plant is the right size it’s shipped to the retail store where it’s bought by the end consumer. Now in some cases Monrovia sells liner sized plants to re-wholesale operations that then grow the plants to size and sell them, two steps not the five that Warren mentions.

Are plants going through that many outlets in the rest of the country? If they are going through five different middlemen I can see all sorts of problems that would cause. If I we’re a nursery person where this is going on I would be working as hard as I can to eliminate some of those middlemen.

In California this doesn’t happen. Generally the consumer is two steps from the grower, maybe three. I am curious, nursery people from east of The Sierra, is this true?