Early last week, Lowes and The Scotts Company each sent a letter to growers and breeders stating that the two companies have decided not to pursue the Miracle-Gro Select Plants program for the 2005 season. According to both letters, the two could not come to a mutual agreement on how to move forward with the program at the big box store.
Though this is only the second year of a 10-year exclusive contract, both parties said that the parting was mutual, and each company is now pursuing other ventures. Chris Ahern, spokesperson for Lowes, had positive things to say about the preferred vendor. “We’ve work with Scotts for a long time, and they continue to be a vendor.” Scotts could not be reached for comment.
GPN spoke to several growers around the country that have been growing the Miracle-Gro Select Plants program to gauge the impact of this announcement, and it appears to be early enough not to have caused many problems. While input orders have been made, there is very little plant material already on the ground, allowing for minimal loss. It seems that the only real loss is the money already invested in Miracle-Gro pots and tags that are still in stock.
As far as Lowes is concerned, industry sources say that Lowes will be returning to the Lowes Garden Club Select brand that was in stores before the Miracle-Gro agreement. Additionally, our sources tell us that Scotts is planning to focus on its brand in Canada, where it is working making in roads with both the Miracle-Gro branded plant line as well as the Nursery Select program for independents. Stay tuned to GPN Weekly for more detailed information as it becomes available.