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Greenhouse, sod and nursery industries, 2016

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Released: 2017-04-27

Total sales of the greenhouse, nursery and sod industries reached $3.6 billion in 2016.

Greenhouse products accounted for 78.5% of all greenhouse, nursery and sod sales. Greenhouse fruit and vegetable sales were up 3.6%, while flower and plants sales (including resales) increased 0.9%. Ornamental product sales (including greenhouse flowers and plants, nursery products, and sod products) totalled $2.3 billion in 2016.

Chart 1  Chart 1: Sales of greenhouse, nursery and sod products
Sales of greenhouse, nursery and sod products

Total greenhouse flower and plant sales (including resales) totalled $1.5 billion in 2016. Ontario (52.5%), British Columbia (21.3%) and Quebec (10.3%) had the largest shares of total greenhouse flower and plant sales.

Indoor and outdoor potted plants made up the largest share of all flowers and plants produced and sold, accounting for 61.9% of total greenhouse floriculture sales. Ontario was responsible for close to half of potted plant values in 2016.

Several new outdoor potted plant categories were added to reporting this year, for example, potted herb plants (10.7 million pots), potted vegetable plants (7.2 million pots) and calibrachoas (2.6 million pots). Geraniums still accounted for the largest variety, with 16.5 million pots produced.

Cut flowers sales decreased 4.5% to $140 million, with Ontario accounting for nearly 70% of the sales in Canada.

Greenhouse vegetable sales totalled $1.3 billion in 2016, or about $175 million higher than the value of field grown vegetables (published in The Daily on February 1, 2017). Sales of greenhouse tomatoes rose 5.9% to $544.5 million, while sales of peppers decreased 1.5% to $419.7 million. Cucumbers had the largest percentage increase, with sales rising 7.4% to $334.2 million. Eggplants sales totalled $7.7 million in 2016.

Chart 2  Chart 2: Greenhouse, nursery and sod operating expenses
Greenhouse, nursery and sod operating expenses

Total operating expenses for greenhouses rose 3.4% to $2.5 billion in 2016. Labour costs accounted for 29% of total operating expenses. The total number of greenhouse employees decreased 1.6% to 32,829, while payroll expenses increased 1.4% to $713.1 million. Payroll employees made an average of $21,723 in 2016.

Greenhouse crop expenses, electricity, and plant material purchases continued to increase, while total fuel expenses decreased.

Total nursery sales (including resales) decreased 11.6% from 2015 to $635.6 million in 2016. This was mainly due to the fact that operations which exclusively produce tree seedlings for reforestation were excluded from these data in 2016.

Nursery operating expenses declined 8.0% to $559.4 million. Labour costs accounted for 36.2% of total operating expenses. The total number of nursery employees fell 11.3% to 11,663, and labour costs decreased 10.0% to $202.4 million. Average payroll increased 1.4% to $17,355 per employee.

In 2016, total sod sales (including resales) were down 5.0% to $147.4 million, while expenses decreased 5.4% to $115.0 million. Sod farm operations employed 1,585 people in 2016, down 7.1% from 2015. Average payroll reached $25,762 per employee in 2016.

Telling Canada's story in numbers; #ByTheNumbers

In celebration of the country's 150th birthday, Statistics Canada is presenting snapshots from our rich statistical history.

In 2015, gross farm receipts from greenhouse vegetable farms totalled $1.3 billion, accounting for 4.1% of Canadian farm cash receipts from all crops.

From 1956 to 2016, production of greenhouse vegetables experienced positive annual growth in 49 of the 60 years. During this period, production of greenhouse vegetables increased 21,234% while farm gate value (money received by producers grew 21,361% (in 2007 constant dollars).

Despite higher input costs such as energy, dollars received per kilogram of greenhouse vegetables sold has continued to range from $2.29 to $4.03. The Canadian vegetable greenhouse producers have been able to adapt new automated technologies, bring fresh produced to Canadians during cold seasons and to flourish on the international market.

  Note to readers

Changes in methodology were made to the Annual Greenhouse, Sod and Nursery survey beginning with the April 2017 release. For more information on the methodology changes, consult the document, The Integrated Business Statistics Program, in the Behind the data feature of our website.

Operations which exclusively produce tree seedlings for reforestation are outside the scope of the 2016 Annual Greenhouse Sod and Nursery Survey and are therefore not included. Prior surveys have included these operations in their production, affecting total greenhouse and nursery area, production, expenses and sales.

Contact information

For more information, contact us (toll-free 1-800-263-1136; 514-283-8300;

To enquire about the concepts, methods and data quality of this release, contact Rita Athwal (613-863-7249;, Agriculture Division.

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