A nursery is a place where plants are propagated and grown to usable size. The various types of nurseries can be classified based on various criteria.
They include, Sale: Retail nurseries which sell to the general public. Wholesale nurseries, which sell only to businesses such as other nurseries and to commercial gardeners, private nurseries which suffice the needs of institutions or private estates. Some retail and wholesale nurseries sell by mail.
Phase of the process: propagation, growing out, or retail sale;
Type of plant: Ground covers, shade plants, fruit trees, or rock garden plants.
The nursery business is highly seasonal. It is affected by temperature, drought, cheaper foreign competition, fashion, etc. Plants may be propagated by seeds, but often desirable cultivars are propagated asexually by budding, grafting, layering, or other nursery techniques.
Nurseries often grow plants in a greenhouse, a building of glass or in plastic tunnels, designed to protect young plants from harsh weather while allowing access to light and ventilation. Modern greenhouses allow automated control of temperature, ventilation and light and semi-automated watering and feeding. Some also have fold-back roofs to allow “hardening-off” of plants without the need for manual transfer to outdoor beds.
Most nurseries remain highly labor-intensive. Although some processes have been mechanized and automated, others have not. It remains highly unlikely that all plants treated in the same way at the same time will arrive at the same condition together, so plant care and horticulture nursery management require observation, judgment and manual dexterity. Selection for sale also requires comparison and judgment. It has been estimated that manpower accounts for 70 per cent of the production costs of a horticultural nursery.
Types of Nurseries According to Type of Plants Grown
1. Fruit Plant Nurseries
Fruit crops are mainly propagated vegetatively and need special techniques for propagations as well as maintenance. Mango, Guava, Pomegranate, Sapota, Oranges etc. are propagated with vegetative means. Fruit nurseries are essential for production of grafts as well as the mother plants of scions and rootstocks.
2. Vegetable Nurseries
All vegetables except few like potatoes, sweet potato, bulbous vegetables and some other are raised by seedlings. Very few vegetables are perennials like, little gourd, drumsticks, Alocasia etc. Seedlings are to be produced on a large scale in short period.
3. Ornamental Plant Nurseries
Ornamental and floricultural crops are numerous and are propagated vegetatively, like gladiolus, carnation, roses, lilies etc. There is a large group of ornamental plants, which is propagated by seeds and seedling; Asters, Marigolds, Salvias, etc. are some of them.
4. Medicinal and Aromatic Plant Nurseries
There is considerable increase in people adopting ayurvedic medicines with the changing life style. It is also necessary to conserve the fast depleting precious medicinal and aromatic plants. To save and multiply the valuable medicinal and other auspicious plants, nurseries specializing in these plants have begun to flourish. These plants are also demanded by the Ayurvedic medicinal practitioners.
5. Forest Plant Nursery
Forest plants are essential for synthesis of gums, honey, timber and fuel. There is lack of forest plant nurseries. To save and multiply the entire lot of valuable forest plants it is very essential to preserve and multiply those plants for which special type of nurseries are to be established. This is also needed for medicinal purposes.
6. Hi-Tech Nurseries
There is sudden increase in the demand for certain commercial plants. For example Tissue cultured banana, gerbera and carnation etc. It is not possible to fulfill this requirement by ordinary or common nursery practices. There is necessity to have special techniques and methods to meet the demand and only Hi-tech nurseries can satisfy this type of demand. These nurseries grow plants in greenhouse, building of glass or a plastic tunnel, designed to protect young plants from harsh weather, while allowing access to light and ventilation. Modern greenhouses allow automated control of temperature, ventilation, light, watering and feeding. Some also have fold-back roofs to allow “hardening-off” of plants without the need for manual transfer of plants to the outdoor beds.
Types of Nurseries According to the Type of Sale
1. Retail Nurseries:
Retail nurseries raise plants for sale to the general public. These places are small, locally owned nurseries that sell seasonal, annuals, ornamental trees, other landscaping plants and garden decoration to the general public or companies that specialize in a particular type of plant, such as tropical plants, citrus trees, bulbs or roses.
2. Wholesale Nurseries:
Wholesale nurseries usually grow plants in bulk for the purpose of selling to large clients. These clients may include florists, garden centers or departmental stores. A wholesale nursery may fill a niche for particular types of plants, such as vegetables or houseplants, or they may grow a general selection of plants to sell such as fruits, vegetables and landscaping plants.
3. Private Nurseries:
A private nursery grows plants exclusively for a single client. The private nursery may be owned by the client or it may be under contract for use by the client. Clients for private nurseries include large estates, corporations and institutions. These nurseries are concerned with raising documented historical plants for the historic preservation of the estates.
4. Mail Order:
Privately owned, retail and wholesale businesses may all be involved in mail order businesses. As shipping technology improved, it became possible to ship dormant ornamental trees and bedding plants via mail. The internet has largely shifted mail order from catalog to online shopping. Bedding plants may be shipped via postal carrier, but are primarily handled through third-party shipping agents.