growing great grasses since 1986

Our Company

Our Core Purpose

To produce better living through plants.

Our Core Values

  • Show respect
  • Improve and adapt
  • Live with integrity
  • Empower through learning
  • Strive for excellence
  • Celebrate success
  • Be passionate and energetic
John Hoffman early in his grass-growing career. He and Jill began with finished sizes but chose to focus on liners as the nursery expanded.
John Hoffman early in his grass-growing career. He and Jill began with finished sizes but chose to focus on liners as the nursery expanded.

How It All Began

John Hoffman knew early on that he loved plants. He wasn’t afraid of the hard work that came with gardening, so it was no surprise he began his horticultural career in landscaping. In 1981, he started a design-installation firm and called it Landscapes by Hoffman.

Then John discovered ornamental grasses. They weren’t widely used in the U.S. in the 1980s; however, Europe had already embraced grasses. John traveled to Germany and was fortunate to meet with the late plant breeder, Ernst Pagels. Pagels’ enthusiasm for grasses and grass-filled gardens kindled John’s interest. John also gained inspiration from his mentor, the late J.C. Raulston at North Carolina State University. J.C. believed grasses would become popular and encouraged John to pursue his interest. The more John learned, the more his passion for grasses flourished.

In partnership with his wife, Jill, John transitioned from landscaping to growing in 1986. Hoffman Nursery was established on a 45-acre former tobacco farm in rural Rougemont, North Carolina. Their first crops—grasses in large, finished sizes—were personally delivered by John in rented box trucks. Before long, the Hoffmans constructed their first hoop house, which allowed them to work through the intricacies of producing small, liner plants.

Friends and family questioned the wisdom of specializing in grasses, which meant turf to most people (“How are you going to feed your family?”). But John and Jill recognized both the beauty and benefits of ornamental and native grasses and were determined to pursue this emerging market.

30 Years

Now we ship liners to wholesale customers across the United States and Canada─that rented box truck is a distant memory. An advanced production and growing facility and dedicated shipping buildings help Hoffman Nursery fulfill our mission to produce high-quality plants. Most of all, our talented employees continually strive for improvement in all areas of the nursery. 

Our team was especially gratified when the North Carolina Nursery & Landscape Association (NCNLA) named us Grower of the Year for 2011.

From the first hoop house and two enthusiastic people with a dream, to the Hoffman Nursery of today, the focus has always been on producing premium plants, giving employees a good place to work, and giving back to the community.

Hoffman Nursery founders and owners, John and Jill Hoffman.
Hoffman Nursery founders and owners, John and Jill Hoffman.
The nursery integrates bioswales and other green infrastructure features that use natural systems to treat water and increase biodiversity.
The nursery integrates bioswales and other green infrastructure features that use natural systems to treat water and increase biodiversity.

An Expanding Vision

Our vision has broadened during the last 30 years. Hoffman Nursery actively supports horticultural research, promotes environmental stewardship, and performs community service.

Our partnerships strengthen Hoffman Nursery’s ties to the community and build our expertise. Projects with North Carolina State University faculty and students in the fields of Horticultural Science, Weed Science, Plant Pathology, Entomology, and Landscape Architecture keep us connected to the latest research. Tours, lectures, and workdays with horticultural student groups introduce younger generations to the nursery industry. Grass donations and consulting on landscape projects with local schools, charities, public institutions, and student groups allow us to give back to our community.

Through education and by example, we encourage responsible stewardship. In our operations, Hoffman Nursery strives to reduce resource use and minimize our impact on the environment. We use best management practices and handle stormwater on site with green infrastructure features, such as buffer zones, bioretention, bioswales, and meadow plantings. We practice integrated pest management (IPM) and continually seek ways to reduce pesticide use. Nurturing the land on which we work and grow, reducing waste, composting, and recycling is a nursery-wide priority. We value the herons, mockingbirds, bluebirds, turtles, frogs, foxes, butterflies, bees, and other creatures that share the land with Hoffman Nursery.

As we move forward, we remain committed to producing premium quality plants, to the nursery industry, and to our community. And we can’t forget visionaries and horticulturalists who paved the way for grasses and sedges to enter the nursery world. We are most grateful for the support of customers.

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