Morrisons has opened garden centres in more than a quarter of its stores as it looks to lock horns with the specialist operators.

The retailer, which The Grocer understands ran the rule over The Garden Centre Group earlier this year, has opened 129 temporary garden centres within the last few months in its car parks and other spaces outside its stores.

The centres will remain open throughout summer. Plants on sale range in price from £1 to £70, and a Morrisons spokesman said it was using its direct sourcing model to keep prices competitive.

“We have a strong offer. Customers can find all the products they would in a traditional garden centre at cheaper prices,” he claimed.

The Garden Centre Group, previously known as Wyevale, was eventually bought by private equity group Terra Firma at the end of March in a deal worth £276m. The UK has an estimated 2,000 garden centres and the market is worth £4.8bn, according to Britain’s Garden Centre Association.