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Is there a difference between garden centre grown herbs and the one you get in your local grocery store?

I bought a thyme plant from a grocery store a few days ago and today when I visited the garden centre, although the thyme scent were exactly the same, the one in the garden centre was three times more expensive eventhough its much smaller. Although the grocery store thyme were bigger and fuller, the garden centre thyme has harder stems but were a third of the size I got in the grocery store.


Any thoughts?


I haven't heard the phrase grocery store for many years-do such places still exist?

Anyway coming back to your point- there is  no difference-garden centres tend to charge what they can get away with in their area- the local competition is probably sparse- whereas a supermarket  is more competitive and they will buy in more to start with

It is always cheaper to buy herbs- when they have them- from a supermarket-I have done it many times


I am going to disagree, I thought that there was a difference I thought that the ones in the shops had been forced somehow and that is why you have to treat them differently to ones in the GC. 

If you buy basil from a supermarket you can get 20 plants in one pot and they need less water than a single plant from a GC that has a proper root system 

It may be different with Thyme

Thanks Sotongeoff.

I'm so used to the term grocery store than even after all the big supermarkets replaced them, I still call them grocery stores. Hehe

Alina W

I tend to agree with Kate. The difference isn't in the variety, but the way they're grown. Supermarket herbs are forced, in optimal conditions, so grow larger much more quickly than garden centre herbs. Garden centre herbs, being grown more slowly, are sturdier and stronger plants which can be planted outdoors. If you try and break up supermarket herbs and plant them out, you will find that they curl up and die because they are "soft" and have poor roots.


Well I was in L**ls a few weeks ago, and they had marked down pots of French and curly parsley, 50p each. When I got home, I tipped them out, separated them and potted them on. They're now in my cold frame, some in pots to go in the gh overwinter, the rest I'll plant out - oh and also gave a few to a friend. About 30 plants for ??1.
I've also got a bush of a basil plant bought from the co-op I May of this year. I just potted it on.

The forced herb plants you buy in supermarkets are little more than very young very leafy plug plants with tiny underdeveloped roots.  Yes, someone with green fingers who knows what they're doing can divide up these little plants and pot them on, giving them the conditions they need to develop healthy root systems and then turn into proper plants which can be planted out into the garden and begin to 'fend for themselves'.

The herb plants you buy from the garden centre have been grown on and have developed good root systems and can be planted out in the garden as  soon as you get them home. That is why they're more expensive - they've cost considerably more  and have taken much longer to produce.

I've had 3 chive plants from a supermarket for about 5 years now. one I never planted on but leave outside, every year it dies back into the pot and then comes again the next year. I don't take out any of the old plant as this rots down for the new plant. I never have much luck with basil, but when I have transfered it into a bigger pot it does fine. I would suggest (for those of use who don't have natural green fingers) to plant it in a bigger pot and keep it indoors, this should let the roots mature a bit. Then once it appears to be happy you could then look at transfereing it to a cold frame to get it used to being outdoors. I have done this with herbs that thrive in this country, however I have never been able to get Basil to work. I'm just too much of an amateur I think

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