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Commercial horticulture refers to a type of ornamental horticulture in which plants are grown specifically for commercial purposes rather than simply for personal enjoyment. It differs from garden centres and retail garden centers, which sell plants for home use. Commercial plants are often sold in gardens centers, nurseries, or home improvement centers, often at prices cheaper than that of regular retailers.
The principal commercial objectives are sale, distribution and lease. Plants are sold under their Latin names and sold at a profit. Distribution occurs through commerce and industry, to enterprises such as utilities companies and mobile telephone networks, and to private individuals who sell plants in their gardens. If a plant is not intended for commerce, it may still be called a commercial plant, although it may not actually sell. The three principal activities for commercial plants are growing, warehousing, and transit. The ultimate business goal is to generate profits, or to ensure a steady income. A business may profit by selling high-end plants, or by selling plants for lower prices.
European horticulture, the natural sciences of gardening, has a long history, going back to medieval times when men would grow small amounts of garden plants at home for personal use. The first introduction to European commercial horticulture was the German botanist Leonhart Fuchs's The Forme of Cury. It was published in 1490 and includes forty-five herbal recipes and fifty-three plant drawings, as well as advice on the care and cultivation of plants for the public market. Fuchs had been a tutor to Sigismund, Holy Roman Emperor and King of Poland, and wanted to help his students cultivate plants for profit. The first European plant nursery was started in Nuremberg in 1768. The Dutchman Thomas Andriesberger started a nursery in 1752 and bred "Ancylanthus" which was originally from China. It has a similar plant to the morning glory, but with yellow flowers that would open in the morning.
During the mid-19th century, many changes took place in commercial horticulture. At the end of the century, nurseries began to sell "competition" flowers. This meant they grew a wide variety of flowers to show their customers the quality of their variety and ease of care. American nurseries started in New York in the early 19th century, and by the mid-20th century had a reputation for excellent quality and low prices.
History of commercial horticulture
The American nursery industry was born in 1873. When America's main railway companies, the Baltimore and Ohio, Central New York, Delaware and Hudson, Erie, Hudson River and Southern, had trouble delivering fruit and vegetables for New York's population, they introduced the rail-car produce box, a raised bed enclosed by a wall or fences, onto which fruit and vegetables could be transported. This boxed produce proved to be too expensive for the customers, however, and the rail companies stopped supplying them. Some of the railway companies then introduced American-grown produce to New York, and the industry, and commercial horticulture as a whole, was born. For the first few decades of its existence, American commercial horticulture had a reputation for being a copy of Dutch and French horticulture, not unlike that of British horticulture. However, starting in the 1880s, America's commercial horticulture grew and adapted, to the extent that horticulture companies from all over the world began to emulate America's practices.
Two other developments occurred at the end of the 19th century. The first was the introduction of a naturalized butterfly to the United States in 1895. In January, the eggs of the Carolina Skipper (Thrasa confusissima) were introduced into the Everglades. The eggs of a few butterflies hatched. Although many of the eggs had not survived, it soon became clear that the butterfly had come to stay, although it proved hard to locate. The butterfly fed on milkweed plants, which then began to be grown in nurseries. The milkweed had adapted to warm climates, and was therefore a more suitable plant for commercial horticulture. With the rise of America's commercial horticulture, large nurseries began to appear on every corner, including many nurseries that were previously American, and ones that were previously owned by English nurseries.
The second development was the establishment of a flower markets in the early 20th century. A very lucrative business model to grow flowers and sell them to customers meant that certain flowers became more common in horticultural nurseries.The "great white flowering varieties" such as Ipomoea grew in large numbers, and were sold for profit. Flower markets also became important for farmers, because once large quantities of flowers could be produced, farmers had a steady market for their produce. This model of flower and vegetable markets had already existed in Europe, but the innovation of the flower markets in America saw huge growth and many of the large supermarkets of today are the result of this original idea.
Over the years, the flower business has continued to become larger and larger, to the extent that the amount of money spent on flowers and bulbs in the U.S. rose from £36m in 1991 to £295m in 2015. This meant that retail price of flowers continued to drop, and retailers became increasingly competitive with one another.
There are three types of commercial plants:
Commercial plants, which are plants that have no personal use. Examples of commercial plants are Daphne, Euonymus, Ailanthus, Acacia and Hydrangea. They