Similar to comfort food, there’s something about gardening that warms the heart. In 2020 the popularity of gardening surged—nurturing plants and growing food helped us adjust to the new normal. According to experts, gardening’s interest continues to flourish as consumers buy and sell homes and commit to growing their food. Savvy gardeners are doing much more than tossing seeds on the soil and waiting for plants to grow. People are invested in creating habitats that reflect their lifestyles, learning about edible plants, and avoiding toxic chemicals to maintain a safe environment.
Consumers need answers to their questions since there is an abundance of new plants, gardening tools, and bagged goods for them to select. Independent business owners who stay on-trend are better positioned to grow sales by providing helpful advice and exceptional service. Building trusted relationships with new and established gardeners is ideal for generating repeat business and adding to your list of loyal customers.
It’s not surprising that people turn to gardens to manage stress and improve their well-being. Besides being a practical way to grow healthy food, gardening can be relaxing and a creative form of self-expression. “Nature has a huge impact on health and wellness,” says Gwenn Fried, Horticulture Therapy manager at NYU Langone’s Rusk Rehabilitation. “We know that people’s cortisol levels go down in a calm, green environment.” Studies also indicate gardening also has other health benefits:
Garden centers got off to a slow start last spring. Still, they quickly rebounded after promoting online sales, delivery, and curbside pickup. These are services consumers now expect, and retailers plan to continue. Katie Dubow, president of Garden Media Group, also notes other conveniences that are trending. These include wider lanes for shopping, ready-made gardens, mobile wallet payments, and virtual shopping.
“Garden centers will offer fewer products, but those with more quality. People will be able to buy in bundles—for instance, pollinator gardens, shade gardens, and so on, for easier ordering and supply-chain management.”
Last year, vegetables, herbs, and edible plants outsold annuals for the first time in 12 years. Since the pandemic forced people to stay at home, many folks decided to try to grow a victory garden. Cultivating outdoor spaces provides a steady supply of edibles for meals and healthy, homegrown snacks. “Home food growing is a huge trend—that iconic Victory Garden is on everyone’s mind,” Dubow says. “And for parents who have kids learning from home, growing edible plants is covering snack time, physical education, and science class in one fell swoop!”
In the age of Zoom, houseplants have become the ideal backdrop for virtual meetings being conducted in home offices. Urban gardeners with limited space create “garden rooms.” They have increased the demand for vertical gardening products and edible plants quickly grown in containers. According to Dubow, “We’re seeing some of the most cutting-edge garden innovations coming from urban gardeners. Garden influencers are really pushing the limit of what people think is possible in a small space.”
In years gone by, a well-manicured lawn with plenty of mulch and color-coordinated plants were the marks of achievement for an avid gardener. However, many gardeners prefer their backyards to be less structured and put various plants in random spots. Due to concerns about toxic chemicals, organic products are another option for gardeners who prefer an environmentally friendly space. “People are shifting away from ‘dead’ landscapes filled with mulch and plants for decorations to co-creating with nature. People are looking for functional and beautiful landscapes,” says Dubow.
Fall is the time to begin planning and placing your orders for spring. Gardening is so popular that people prefer to shop early rather than risk a shortage of supplies. Make it convenient for gardeners to shop locally and offer them the plants and products they need to grow a healthy, vibrant garden.