Plant passports and British growers

Whilst we were in the EU a scheme of Plant Passports was created. This helps to identify exactly which grower the plants come from.

The United Kingdom supported this and has continued with its development. The labelling has been amended. For instance, we do not have the European Flag on labels.  No plants should be supplied to stores, Garden Centre etc. without a passport, be in U.K. or from abroad, they will not comply with the regulations.

Since leaving the EU UK plant suppliers, in common with those in the EU, continue to provide a plant passport for any plant material that is or could be planted.

The scheme, administered by the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) was introduced to prevent the importation of any plant pests, certain plants and soils in order to protect UK horticulture so as to provide information to allow tracking such materials to the source.

However, it is a complex process. Plants grown in the UK and sent out in parcels have to show the passport but those sold direct from a nursery or taken to shows do not.

In 2020, because of the nature of the horticulture business with its peak seasons supplying plants that would have had to have been propagated months ahead, there have been inevitable shortages during the pandemics. The production cycle for hardy plants takes two to three years.

This meant that demand far exceeded supply. Nevertheless, the HTA’s most recent available figures show that UK ornamental plants were worth £1.4 billion in 2020, a decrease of 1.2% compared to 2019.

In some cases, UK wholesalers have gone out of business.

According to the Horticultural Trades Association (HTA) historically as little as 10 per cent of bedding plants were imported during the peak trading season.  However, during the pandemic that figure has risen to 65 per cent of larger retailers surveyed.

Clearly, to avoid the passport-related issues and protect UK growers we need to buy British as far as possible.

Cultivation tips for September:

As indicated in this blog, roses and other hardy plants could be in short supply this autumn, so place your order as soon as possible This is especially so if you wish to order Standard roses.

September is normally a time of year when repeat flowering varieties enjoy plenty of bloom. It is also a time when particularly climbers and ramblers put on quite a bit of growth. In rose fields it is also a growing time, before plants are lifted later in the autumn.

Keep any spray programme going throughout this month.

September is a good time to work on any replacement schemes So if you need to replace old roses then do follow the guidance given under planting advice which will also help with general preparation.