Research has shown the nursery industry needs to seek alternative water sources and adopt water conservation strategies to reduce water use in order to stay viable. This study used a qualitative approach to explore nursery growers’ perceptions, attitudes, and opinions about water usage to inform the development of Extension programs that encourage adoption of water conservation strategies. Interviews were conducted with 24 nursery growers across the U.S. The findings indicated growers interact with water in various ways, including meeting plant water needs, facilitating chemical distribution, controlling product quality, and facilitating business operations. The participants felt protecting water was the right thing to do and could provide economic benefits to their business, but water management was perceived as a task enforced by regulations. They reported their future interaction with water would include combatting water issues, engaging in the development and implementation of government regulations, seeking water conservation technologies and information, and dealing with financial challenges. Extension educators should be aware of these needs to alleviate concerns about integrating new processes into business plans. Educational programs should assist in the promotion of water conserving products based on knowledge gaps and provide assistance for easier adoption of new technologies by growers.



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