Nurseries vs. Garden Centers | Plant Nursery Knoxville TN

Updated: Aug 12

Looking to bring life to your backyard by purchasing plants but don’t know whether to buy from a plant nursery or a garden center? Looking for a nursery in Knoxville TN but not sure whether a garden center like Out of Eden can serve your needs? In our latest blog post we explore the key differences between a nursery and garden center, and give you insight on where you should buy plants based on your gardening needs. Let’s dive in.


Mom and daughter shopping for plants

Plant Nursery


The purpose of a plant nursery is to cultivate, nurture, grow, and sell plants to consumers either for their garden or for commercial reasons all year long. Seedlings can be planted small or large when the conditions are ideal for their development. There are several types of young plants available for propagation in nurseries, whether they are retail nurseries or wholesale nurseries. Plant nurseries exist exclusively to provide young plants and saplings to farmers, gardeners, forestry, agriculture, and conservationists.


The plant varieties offered by nurseries include local, imported, and exotic varieties. Among nurseries, customers are home gardeners, landscape gardeners, and even commercial farmers. In addition to indoor plants, you will also find outdoor plants, container plants, and earth plants at a nursery along with typically several different kinds of horticulture products and services.


In urban areas, whether a plant nursery in Knoxville or other areas of Tennessee, nurseries are typically known for growing flowering plants, decorative plants, vegetable plants, and ornamental trees.


Types of Plant Nurseries


There are a number of different types of plant nurseries in Knoxville TN offering a large selection of plants, each with a different purpose and customer base.


These include:

  1. Temporary Nurseries: Nursery stock continues to be supplied for a limited amount of time before being replaced by another. It serves a specific purpose and is designed to meet a particular need. Stocks of a particular kind are designed to satisfy specific supply contracts or stock requirements. Temporary nurseries can be defined as businesses that supply nursery stock to a location and abandon that stock once the business is finished or move that stock to a new location when the supply is exhausted. Holdings of stocks are frequently confined to a temporary or limited period.

  2. Permanent Nurseries: Plant nursery services and plant nursery stock continue to be provided throughout the year. Nurseries are generally larger in areas with permanent structures and features. The permanent nursery can supply vegetable, flower, and fruit plants year-round, which can be purchased as retail plants or wholesale plants.

  3. Forest Nurseries: Woodstock from this nursery is propagated and grown to be distributed for use in planting forests, landscaping, and woods farms for timber distribution. Among the plants at the nursery are herbs and medicinal plants that have excellent economic value. There are various groups of plants in this nursery, such as decorative plants, industrial trees, and tree species, which are used for advertising purposes. Among the species of plants in this nursery are oak, pine, sandalwood, pine, eucalyptus, and eucalyptus.

  4. Vegetable Nurseries: In many households, organic vegetables are used in the kitchen. Unfortunately, many of the vegetables available in the supermarket are filled with chemicals. Americans' generally grow a few vegetables a day in their backyards or kitchen gardens. Since home gardeners love having their vegetable patch, nurseries that specialize in growing vegetables are in high demand. Vegetables are available in seasonal, annual, and perennial varieties. There are many varieties of vegetable seeds available at nurseries around the world.

  5. Fruit Nurseries: Nursery establishments of this type offer a wide range of varieties and varieties of fruit trees for residential and commercial planting. Among the nursery's stock are a variety of species commonly found, as well as rare varieties. Since fruit trees can be planted anytime except for places with intense climates, these plants will also be in demand year-round because some fruit crops can be planted even in containers in areas with moderate climates.

  6. Flower Plant Nurseries: For obvious reasons, this type of plant nursery sells flowers. It is common for gardeners to make sure that their backyards are filled with blooming plants. While the market remains sluggish, flowers continue to be the most valuable and in-demand plants. Almost all nursery growers prefer plants that are rare and do not originate from nearby regions. You can always find different types of flower seedlings at flower stores as well as nursery plants.

Types of Plant Nursery Businesses

  1. Landscape Plant Nursery: The type of nursery performs horticultural services for outdoor gardens and landscapes. Their retail store becomes stocked with plants they have designed, installed, and maintained for their commercial landscaping.

  2. Commercial Plant Nursery: A plant nursery of this type will often have a large growing area for grafting and transplanting along with the ability to sell huge quantities of plants at significantly lower prices to large producers, government agencies, parks, and environmental landscaping firms as well as to smaller nurseries.

  3. Mail Order Nursery: The distance from where the crop is purchased does not matter in this type of plant nursery business as the crops are sold directly to customers. Plants are shipped directly to customers via this wholesale company instead of being sold in retail stores. Gardeners around the world buy high-value ornamentals and specialty crops from nursery anglers. The garden may produce a few rare species that are unique to it, but no more than a couple or three species should be produced. If the plants are highly beneficial, the nurseries package and ship them efficiently and promptly.

  4. Retail Plant Nursery: Plants are sold to individuals who want to grow them for their private gardens indoors or outdoors. Plants are grown exclusively for retail sale on a limited amount of land.

Now, this is where garden centers come in.

Out of Eden Garden Center

Garden Center


The main business of plant nurseries is to grow plants for domestic gardens while the primary business of garden centers is to sell plants and related products.


Garden centers are not only dedicated to selling plants but also to inspiring their customers with creative planting ideas. A retail plant nursery with an expanded range of outdoor products and on-site services is essentially the same as a retail plant nursery. It is common for garden centers to purchase plants propagated by nurseries or wholesalers specializing in the process.


You might be surprised to find there are a few garden centers that sell pet products and small animals such as guinea pigs, rabbits, fish, and mice. Several garden centers now also have cafes or restaurants within their stores. Many garden centers are now offering home and interior products, such as furniture, in addition to gardening products. Besides gardening, some garden centers now sell goods related to camping and the outdoors, including clothing and items associated with those activities.


Services That Garden Centers Like Out of Eden Offer

Looking for a Garden Center in East Tennessee?


Here at Out of Eden we are proud to be East Tennessee's largest retail garden center, and a great alternative to plant nurseries in TN. Our knowledgable staff will be here to help you every step of the way. Get in touch today with our friendly team of expert horticulturists to discuss your backyard needs.


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