Green infrastructure offers the nursery industry a new market for plants and horticultural services. Broadly defined, this emerging market spotlights all the functions plants can serve in the urban landscape—everything from increasing stormwater infiltration at the site level, to reducing temperatures locally, to providing beneficial wildlife habitat and boosting property values citywide.
The pond project at the North Carolina Museum of Art employed green infrastructure features to manage and treat stormwater on site. The project used a large number of locally sourced liners and container-grown plants.
One of the largest emerging green infrastructure (GI) plant markets entails plants for site-specific stormwater management. In these cases, it is primarily the landscape architects working with engineering firms—those who are implementing a private or public contract for the project—who generate plant demand.
In markets where regulations or rules frame GI plant selection, nurseries and greenhouse growers are seeing boosts in demand. And it’s often for natives of all kinds—trees, shrubs, perennials and grasses. Approved plant lists for projects are typically included in best management practices (BMP) manuals for stormwater control or new or infill development.
Hoffman Nursery is one of several North Carolina nurseries that has noticed increased demand for native plants, including those recommended in BMP manuals. In response, the company has begun growing a wider range of native grasses and sedges. Growers are also seeing an increase in requests for plants and seed mixes for pollinator habitat and wildlife forage.
–(2014) by Debbie Hamrick and Shannon Currey, November 2014 American Nurseryman.