The importance of buying locally grown plants


Utah is a pretty great state. We have a long growing season, plenty of sunshine and relatively mild, though sometimes unpredictable, winters. The downside is that we have very little water and very alkaline soils. We also get hot summers and can have wild temperature swings within days. These conditions can be hard on plants not acclimated nor accustomed to our wacky Utah weather.

One of the many advantages of buying locally grown plants is that if they are grown here, they survive better and are more likely to succeed here. Progressive Plants is a unique nursery because we grow over 70% of our inventory here over the course of several years. The remaining 30% are plants and trees that we bring in from trusted growers in the Pacific northwest. Some of you may ask, “Why don’t you grow everything here?”

Well, the answer is Utah. High temperatures and low humidity and unpredictable winters sometimes makes certain plants economically impossible to grow here. Commonly loved plants like boxwood, yews, spruce, Japanese maples and many others can take over years and years to grow to marketability in Utah, if they even survive the growing seasons. Conversely, in the Pacific northwest has milder winters, cooler summers and a slightly longer growing season, and 3 times as much water. The aforementioned plants occasionally struggle here depending on planting locations, whereas in the Northwest they grow like weeds.

We definitely see a difference in vigor and survivability in varieties of plants suited for our wacky climate. We lose less than 1% of locally grown plants compared to as high as 15% of plant material not acclimated to Utah. Much of what we grow are even more showy and less maintenance that common landscaping mainstays from other regions of the US. Perennials like Agastache, Gaillardia, Salvia and Penstemon often perform better here than in other regions of the country. Buddleia and shrub roses are stellar performers in Utah and are very low maintenance. If you need advice, you can book a consultation or a design with one of our professionals.