Behnke’s Nursery in Beltsville to Close in June

Photo courtesy of Robert & Pat Rogers

After 89 years, Behnke Nurseries in Beltsville will close in June.

Started in 1930 by German immigrant Albert Behnke and his wife Rose, the nursery and garden center had been a thriving business for three generations of the family.

But the owners announced that they will shut down after putting all of their remaining stock on sale.

“My family has been discussing what to do with our aging property and, for many reasons, the ultimate decision was to close the nursery,” they wrote on Facebook.

Behnke’s almost closed the Beltsville location once before, in 2002, due to problems with its bank, but got a reprieve at the last minute.

The nursery’s financial problems are directly tied to the reason it is so beloved. Behnke’s prided itself on carrying high-quality shrubs and flowers, even when they were out of season, and kept a full-time staff year-round.

That made it a great place for gardeners to get good advice and hard-to-find plants, but it also made it hard to compete with Home Depot and other chains.

But the owners told the Hyattsville Wire that their decision had nothing to do with the financial problems they faced last time.

“It was a long carefully thought out plan by the Behnke family and management for the past four or five years,” they wrote. “The Behnke children are all in their 80s and it was time to make the hard choices on how this was going to happen.”

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12 Responses to Behnke’s Nursery in Beltsville to Close in June

  1. Lise Nau says:

    There is simply no replacement for Behnke’s (especially true of Home Depot). All the gardeners I know are inconsolable.

  2. Sandy says:

    Irreplaceable! So many happy times spent there.

  3. Marcus says:

    I was there the day before receiving their closing announcement email…the cashier hinted at a sale upcoming, but I thought she was referring to the $10 off flyer they send in the mail annually at the beginning of spring…this is such sad news

  4. Lise Nau says:

    I spent about $175 there on Monday before hearing about closing and sale…sorry I missed the discount, but I went back today (Friday) and some things I wanted were already gone. So on the whole, I’m glad I got my pick.

  5. Lucinda Botlero says:

    I cannot believe this. Was my most favorite place to roam around in summer. Could spend hours in their whimsical indoor plant room. There is no replacement. I wish and pray they change their mind.

  6. Lucinda Botlero says:

    Can’t believe they are closing!

  7. Kathy says:

    I’ll miss this beautiful place. My mother, sisters and I made many memories there beginning in the early 1970’s. I will never forget taking my oldest son as a toddler to the “Christmas shop” the decorations and colorful lights would make him laugh with Joy. Thank you for giving us so many happy beautiful moments.

  8. Pam says:

    Isn’t there another generation that can take over? I hate see them close.

  9. Sandra S Campbell says:

    Where on earth are we going to go for what they called “Maryland Natives”?
    Wow. Home Depot and Lowe’s do not stock native plants.

    I cannot imagine how we will get plants. This is a huge blow for the discerning gardens of the region.

  10. Donna Nelson says:

    Many thanks to the Behnke family for fond memories of leisurely strolls through the nursery to discover the perfect plants for gardening projects or gifts, and for employing so many people in the Beltsville area over the many years the nursery has been in business—including Irene Hopkins, my sons’ grandmother, who worked on the amazing African Violet area.
    The Big Box stores have got nothing on Behnke’s…

  11. Emily Manning says:

    where do we go for native pants? now?

  12. Lise Nau says:

    chesapeakenatives.org has a great selection! Buy plants at location near Upper Marlboro, or shop one of the frequent plant sales around the Metro area.

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