Bonnie Plants, with 62 greenhouse production facilities, 450 sales reps, and 13,000 retail accounts offering vegetable, herb, and flower plants, seems to be the largest bedding plant supplier in the country. You see their plants in big box stores like Lowe’s and Wal-Mart, but also in some local nurseries and supermarkets. Today I spoke with Chuck at Agra Greenhouses in the South Valley of Albuquerque and asked him why his chile pepper bedding plants were one-fourth the cost of the Bonnie Plants at nearby Wal-Mart. “It’s their business model,” he replied. They grow bazillions of bedding plants and their commissioned sales rep/drivers deliver them on consignment to all the locations, and Bonnie only gets paid when the plants are scanned at the retailer. The leftover, unsold plants are thrown in the trash. Maybe they trash 80 percent of what they grow, Chuck explained, and this, of course is why their prices are so high. But they are convenient and the plants have grown well in my garden and produced well. After many years of doing this, I’ve figured out the best ways to acquire bedding plants. The following list describes the methods from cheapest to most expensive.
–buy seeds and grow your own.
–buy bedding plants from local nurseries supplied by local greenhouses.
–buy bedding plants from big box stores.
Of course, if you’re looking exotic chile plants, price is no object and you should definitely consider Cross Country Nurseries and their wonderful 500-variety bedding plant mail-order program, here.