Recognizing shifts in consumer trends and related industry insights are key components of maintaining any business. This skill becomes all the more important with a floral, gardening and lifestyle business whose success depends on offering on-trend products. While not everything in vogue will reach our market (here in the Rust Belt), the fluidity of social media makes the assimilation of information more likely than it has been in the past.  Now seems to be the perfect time to share with you some gardening trends that have emerged and others that may be coming our way.

I find it fascinating how the names of things often change with time. Why is it that with what we once described as houseplants are now commonly referred to as greenery? No matter what you want to call these tropical plants, they continue to be the hottest trend in gardening today. Their resurgence in popularity can trace itself to several factors. First, the urbanization of our population has more people living in smaller spaces with less room for outdoor gardening. A growing number of younger consumers spend less time outdoors and are focused on indoor activities and decorating. Adding greenery allows for an injection of style that can be customized to an individual’s preferences. Like pets and children, plants become members of the family to be nurtured, cherished and shared with others on Instagram.

The feeling of connection to a living thing... to something that requires our care to sustain life is an inescapable humanistic need.  For those who may not yet be prepared for the commitment of a pet (much less a child) a houseplant makes a very safe yet fulfilling offspring.

Don’t think for a second that the growing popularity of houseplants is limited by age. Consumers of all types are looking to bring a bit of the outdoors inside by decorating with tropical plants. Accessorizing the home with plants is an easy way to add color and style to any indoor space. This trend is all the more relevant as general wellness grows in importance with consumers. Think of copper infused bed sheets, plant-based meat/dairy products and fitness trackers... all very new concepts that have quickly become mainstream products. Houseplants, of course, make our indoor environments more healthful by absorbing harmful airborne toxins within our homes.  A moderately sized plant on a kitchen table can remove unsafe pollutants from an entire room. 

During a recent buying trip, our team noticed a further increase in a movement towards a sleek, clean and modern style. While this is old news to Europe and coastal areas of the U.S., we are in a very traditional region and this trend has been a bit slow on the uptake. Home décor items are most obviously affected, but in the plant world, new pottery and plant container lines are more contemporary in design. 

While some consumers may be seeking a fresh new look, others may suffer from newness fatigue realizing that buying something new doesn’t always fix their problems. Modern consumers are looking for opportunities for self-discovery as well as time-honored, best practices to find life balance. Think Ancestory.com, 23 and Me as well as green burial options. Growing plants (and gardening in general) is a natural connection to our past providing countless physical and therapeutic benefits.

There is seemingly no end to the availability of new plants but, what does new really mean? Succulents and cactus have been very popular for quite some time yet how many really know an Echeveria ‘Lady Aquarius’ from a ‘Hedgehog’ Aloe?  We are seeing more consumers who do know the difference and are looking for new and unusual houseplant selections that differ from other plant categories which are experiencing trends in the opposite direction.

Obviously, I am delighted in the growing popularity of household greenery and the number of new gardeners it is attracting. More so than a fleeting consumer trend, by gaining more plant lovers I have to believe we are also acquiring a greater number of caring and nurturing individuals that will help move us collectively to a more responsive and cooperative society.