Florist startups bloom as 66% rise is revealed ahead of Chelsea Flower Show

As the RHS Chelsea Flower Show launches for another year, Simply Business data has revealed a 66 per cent surge in the number of independent garden centres, nurseries and florists across the UK.

Looking through over 3,000 requests for insurance quotes, we found encouraging growth in both rural and urban areas, while seaside areas Southampton and Bournemouth witnessed the highest boost.

Larger cities like London, Manchester, and Birmingham, meanwhile, saw a relatively small increase in florist startups, suggesting that urban gardening is yet to catch on in the areas where it could make some of the biggest difference.

The nationwide trend suggests that green-fingered city dwellers are on the up, with interest in the urban gardening movement gaining momentum.

A spike in demand could be good for both the self-employed and the environment, with urban gardening providing a number of benefits.

Where are independent florists on the rise?

Along with coastal areas Southampton and Bournemouth, which saw 375 per cent and 280 per cent rises respectively, Liverpool saw a huge spike in urban florist startups.

A 211 per cent rise suggests the city is at the forefront of a growing trend, with locals embracing a greener city. Liverpool was recently revealed as the 10th greenest city in England.

Sheffield, Bristol, Birmingham, Glasgow and Manchester also featured in the top 10 greenest cities, and each city saw a growth in the number of florists in 2016.

Urban gardening hotspots in the UK

A growth in demand for urban gardening is reflected in the rise of indy garden centres, nurseries, and florists, with keen gardeners sparking a boom in flower-focussed startups.

With the industry on the up, here are the cities leading the charge for independent businesses:

City Rise
1. Southampton 375%
2. Bournemouth 280%
3. Liverpool 211%
4. Sheffield 100%
5. Leicester 100%
6. Bristol 92%
7. Birmingham 42%
8. London 35%
9. Glasgow 20%
10. Manchester 19%

Regionally, garden centres and the like are blossoming in the North East, as shown by an incredible 138 per cent rise.

The figure eclipses the South East, which saw a comparably low - albeit still promising - 53 per cent growth.

Region Rise
North East England 138%
East Anglia 81%
North West England 58%
The Midlands 80%
South West England 69%
South Central England 68%
South East England 53%
London 44%
Scotland 45.8%
Wales 37.2%
Northern Ireland 163.6%

What is urban gardening?

Urban gardening is a growing movement that has been gaining momentum for some time.

The movement can take many forms (depending on the level interest, land, and resources) but essentially it’s the growing of plants and vegetables in ultra urban areas.

“The benefits of gardening are spreading from the grassroots upwards now, with small businesses, including florists, small garden centres and nurseries, embracing the trend,” says Fiona McSwein, Chief Customer Officer at Simply Business. “Many of the finalists and contributors competing in the RHS Chelsea Flower Show’s prestigious awards come from outside of London - and we know London is some distance away from becoming a garden city.

“Londoners have a wonderful opportunity to learn from pioneering cities like Detroit or Amsterdam where inner-city allotments are thriving.

“Gardening and allotment-keeping is community-focused too, so growth has created hyper-local hotspots across the UK. For city residents, converting outdoor public spaces into a community vegetable garden can have a transformational impact, on a local scale.”

There are multiple benefits to urban gardening, including:

  1. Growing fresh fruit, vegetables and herbs at low cost and without adding airmiles to your carbon footprint
  2. Less reliance on intensive farming prevents soil erosion
  3. You will find yourself supporting the local bee population
  4. Mental and physical exercise benefits people of any age
  5. Growing leafy plants can help to tackle air pollution problems

RHS Chelsea Flower Show 2017 opens this week

The 2017 RHS Chelsea Flower Show will begin on Tuesday 23 May, lasting until Saturday 27 May.

It’s the most famous flower and gardening show in the UK, and attracts visitors from all over the world.

The show usually sells out well in advance, such is the popularity, but for those still keen to get a glimpse of the gardens on display, you can follow the action on the BBC, or via the Twitter hashtag #RHSChelsea.

Looking for self-employed insurance?

With Simply Business you can build a single self employed insurance policy combining the covers that are relevant to you. Whether it’s public liability insurance, professional indemnity or whatever else you need, we’ll run you a quick quote online, and let you decide if we’re a good fit.

Start your quote