The Transatlantic Plantsman, Graham Rice has a post today titled "Don't buy hostas from Home Depot". Graham bemoans the fact that he "found their hosta labeling in complete chaos." He continues, "even allowing for the fact that all the plants were very soft and had clearly been forced, and for the fact that the foliage of young plants is often not typical of mature specimens - well, it's entirely possible that none of the names are right!" This is really not surprising. As a horticulturalist Graham knows the importance of plant names and keeping them straight.Â The problem is the corporate mindset at the box stores could care less. As in my last post concerning the re-emergence of tomato blight the box stores attitude is, it's not our concern but our suppliers. Concerning letting the customers know about tomato blight and the possible control methods available the answer is, "the grower, Bonnie, conducts quality control at its centers." I am sure the answer to the hosta mislabeling would also be, "it's our growers responsibility, not ours."
This seems to be a trend at the mass merchants. They are just conduits for plants that are grown by others. If there is a problem they just ship the stuff back to the grower and don't pay. It's called pay at scan. Invasive plants, sick plants, and mis-labeled plants are the growers problem, not the garden center at the box store. Of course the average customer at the box store could care less about these issues. Just give me a pretty plant to stick in my yard.
I am well aware that what we are saying here will have virtually no impact on sales or customers at the mass merchants. Our local Home DepotÂ is most likely the single largest supplier of plant material in our area. On a typical weekend it is packed with eager shoppers just dying to plant their tomato upside down, buy shade plants (they're called hostas?) or get some bougainvillea (an expensive annual in our area). Oh well, as the operations manager at Lowes commented, "itâ€™s business as usual in the garden department... we have people literally waiting for the [plant] truck to show up."