Plants to cost more?

Prices for plants such as poinsettias may rise because it costs more to heat commercial greenhouses.

Here in New England, where cold weather is legendary, the cost of heating homes and businesses in the coming winter is big news even though it's still summer. Of special interest to gardeners is how that affects businesses that raise plants to sell.

Most of our bedding plants around the country are raised in greenhouses, of course. But so are many of the houseplants we buy, including orchids. Also cut flowers that are still grown in the US.

But where we may start to see higher prices is with poinsettias, reports the Record-Journal in Meriden, Conn. As heat-loving plants, poinsettias need 3-1/2 months in a greenhouse before being sold.

Some of the Connecticut growers interviewed said they might not grow poinsettias this year, which would, you assume, raise the retail price of those that do make it to market.

But maybe not. Ecke Ranch, the country's largest wholesale supplier, is advising growers on energy-efficient poinsettias.

It's always amazed me that so many bedding plants sold in the US seem to be grown in Canada, where, obviously, more heat would be needed than farther south. I even bought fresh tomatoes this winter that -- I discovered after I got them home -- were imported from Canada!

I wonder if all that will change. It's one thing for shoppers at Trader Joe's or Home Depot to pick up fewer orchid plants as impulse buys, but I hope it doesn't get to the point that we'll have to get out a calculator to decide whether it makes economic sense to buy pepper seedlings or broccoli transplants.

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