Here’s why garden centres are closed during lockdown - and where you can buy compost, paint and other materials

By Helen Johnson
Tuesday, 31st March 2020, 4:28 pm
Updated Tuesday, 31st March 2020, 4:29 pm
On 23 March the government increased measures to prevent the spread of coronavirus, with certain businesses and venues instructed to close (Photo: Shutterstock)
On 23 March the government increased measures to prevent the spread of coronavirus, with certain businesses and venues instructed to close (Photo: Shutterstock)

On 23 March the government increased measures to prevent the spread of coronavirus, with certain businesses and venues instructed to close. 

Those deemed as “non-essential” were required to close their doors until further notice - but does this include garden centres?

Here’s what you need to know.

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    Are garden centres closed?

     The closure of “non-essential” businesses, including garden centres and nurseries, means that millions of plants, shrubs and trees could now be thrown out in the coming days and weeks. 

    This could result in potential ruin for UK growers, with the Horticultural Trades Association (HTA) asking the government for financial assistance of up to £250m in order to help the industry avoid collapse, reports the BBC.

    The main assets of ornamental plant growers' are their inventory of plants - but according to the HTA, they are now facing a loss of almost their entire 2020 income.

    Which businesses and venues remain open?

    Supermarkets and other food shops

    Medical services (such as dental surgeries, opticians and audiology clinics, physiotherapy clinics, chiropody and podiatry clinics, and other professional vocational medical services)

    Pharmacies and chemists, including non-dispensing pharmacies

    Petrol stations

    Bicycle shops

    Hardware shops and equipment, plant and tool hire

    Veterinary surgeries and pet shops

    Agricultural supplies shops

    Corner shops and newsagents

    Off-licences and licenced shops selling alcohol, including those within breweries

    Laundrettes and dry cleaners

    Post offices

    Vehicle rental services

    Car garages and MOT services

    Car parks

    High street banks, building societies, short-term loan providers, credit unions and cash points

    Storage and distribution facilities, including delivery drop off points where they are on the premises of any of the above businesses

    Public toilets

    Shopping centres may stay open but only units of the types listed above may trade

    Where can I buy compost, paint and other gardening materials?

    As listed above, hardware shops and equipment, plant and tool hire, and agricultural supplies shops currently remain open, many of which sell items that you are looking for.

    Alternatively, online gardening supply stores sell a range of day-to-day gardening items, and garden centres may now also be selling items online while they are closed to visitors.


    B&Q stores are no longer open for browsing or purchasing, but customers can order essentials from B&Q's website.

    You can order items to be delivered directly to your home or you can click and collect from your local store where items will be brought to your car in order to minimise contact with staff in stores.

    However, if you do order via click and collect you will be limited to buying essential products for the repair and maintenance of your home.


    Homebase has also temporarily closed its stores, but is still operating an online delivery service.

    However, according to its website, there's a delay of up to three days on some items.

    Standard delivery is free of charge. Next day or named day delivery costs £6.


    Dobbies garden centres across the UK have now temporarily closed, after coming under fire after originally remaining open when lockdown was first put into place.

    Supermarkets and stores such as Wilko and B&M sometimes sell seeds, plants, compost and basic gardening equipment, so you could check these if you’re already there buying essential food items. 

    However, it’s worth remembering that you should only leave the house for very limited purposes, one of which explains is “shopping for basic necessities, for example food and medicine, which must be as infrequent as possible”.

    The other three times you are allowed to leave the house, according to, are for:

    one form of exercise a day, for example a run, walk, or cycle - alone or with members of your household

    any medical need, including to donate blood, avoid or escape risk of injury or harm, or to provide care or to help a vulnerable person

    travelling for work purposes, but only where you cannot work from home