Businesses in Oregon’s nursery products cluster sell greenhouse and ornamental landscape plants, including sub-elements such as shade trees (Oregon is #1 in the nation), potted florist azaleas, root stock (for fruit & nuts), flowering shrubs, evergreens (grafted conifers & broadleaf evergreens), and perennials.   Companies are located across the state but primarily in the Willamette Valley.

Industry Overview

Oregon is the number one exporter of nursery products in the nation, sending 75 percent of Oregon-grown plants outside the state. The Oregon Association of Nurseries (OAN) is a non-profit trade association that represents more than 1,400 individual nursery stock producers, retailers, landscapers and related companies serving the nursery and greenhouse industry. The OAN is the main voice for Oregon’s nursery and greenhouse producers, re-sellers, transporters, retailers and suppliers. It is governed by a volunteer Board of Directors with oversight by a seven-member Executive Committee. OAN’s state and federal legislative agenda for 2011 (pending board approval) includes addressing labor, immigration, water, energy, and environmental policy.

Nursery Products by the Numbers


Nursery and Greenhouse Products

Economic  Impact

Gross Sales: $676,000 (2010)
Average Wage (full and part time)
: $14,016 (2009)
Cluster Employment: 20,600 (2009)
Wage Growth: -15% (2007-2009)
Cluster Employment Growth: -2% (2007-2009)

Cluster Strengths

  • Climate, rainfall, and temperatures – Oregon has 18-hour growing days, and a 9-month growing season
  • High quality soil
  • The limited size of the Willamette Valley means nurseries are close to each other
  • Oregon Association of Nurseries’ culture of collaboration lets growers share truckloads, technologies, and best practices.
  • Commercial buyers on the East Coast and in the Midwest perceive something special about Oregon plant material.

Cluster Challenges

  • High labor costs and shortages, which challenge the profitability of the nursery products cluster.  High minimum wages drive up costs, without attracting new workers. Oregon’s plant prices are also becoming less competitive with other states that have lower labor costs.
  • Much of the industry depends on new home development, which has experienced significant challenges in recent years.
  • Transportation – the seasonal nature of the nursery products industry means that growers are all competing for trucks to export products at the same time, driving up prices.
  • It is difficult to predict future demand for nursery products because of the long time horizon for plant growth (often 3-6 years).

Key Initiatives

  • Develop industry baseline and build greater understanding of how nurseries can play a role in climate change and the use of plant material in the built environment.  Turn industry interest in sustainability into a competitive advantage for the Oregon nursery industry.
  • Increase Oregon’s utilization of plants for ecoservice benefits in both public transportation/infrastructure projects and urban landscapes including:
    • City trees for reducing heat island effect
    • Constructed wetlands for wastewater treatment
    • Green roofs and rain gardens for stormwater management
  • Protect Oregon nursery market share in domestic market and increase international trade markets and access over the next decade.
  • Secure supply of labor for nursery industry.
  • Advance the dialogue and drive innovation in multi-modal transportation, water conservation and management, and energy efficiencies.
    • Improve water and energy efficiency (invest in water conservation and reuse innovation like drip irrigation systems) where applicable.
  • Encourage national improvements in the management and eradication of invasive pests and diseases.
  • Educate growers about new forms of marketing, and use new technologies to develop innovative business management tools. Teach Oregon nurseries to do more with less (more innovation with less public research; greater labor productivity by applying lean management concepts; more pest control with less chemicals).

Cluster Contact

Jeff Stone
Executive Director
Oregon Association of Nurseries
(503) 582-2003