As Americans continue to settle into the new normal of spending time at home, Scotts Miracle-Gro has released new survey data that reveals how gardening and lawn care is taking off as an activity across the country. The research found that more than half (55%) of American adults are currently gardening or caring for their lawn during the COVID-19 outbreak, with an additional 20% saying they are “likely” to head outdoors and accept the green thumb challenge while in quarantine.
- Among those gardening or caring for their lawn during the outbreak, the primary reasons for doing so are to stay busy (54%), to feel a sense of accomplishment (49%), to reduce stress (48%) and to access fresh food (33%).
- When asked about reasons for gardening and growing during the COVID-19 outbreak, Gen Zers (22%), millennials (21%) and Gen Xers (21%) are much more likely to cite reducing trips to the store as a reason for doing so than boomers (9%).
- On average, American adults are spending two hours a day outside during the COVID-19 outbreak. Nearly half (49%) say they’re actually spending more time outside now than they did before the outbreak began.
- With the surge in at-home cooking, many Americans are discovering the joy of using fresh items from their gardens. Two thirds (67%) of adults are growing or plan to grow edible plants, including vegetables (52%), herbs (33%) and fruits (31%).
- On average, those who are currently gardening or caring for their lawn are spending four hours a week doing so.
- The top sources for advice include home and garden websites (44%), their family (40%) and experts at local garden centers or hardware stores (37%). But nearly 1 in 5 (19%) of those who get advice are turning to mobile apps, including 29% of millennials and 25% of Gen Zers.
Regarding the data and trends, Garden Center also conducted a quick Q&A with Sara Eff, scientist in gardens at R&D at Scotts Miracle-Gro. Here’s what she had to say on the current state of the industry, below.
Garden Center: Do you think victory gardening is here to stay once the pandemic passes?
Sara Eff: I definitely believe gardening as a whole is here to stay. I think the pandemic has shed some light on the importance of being able to grow your own food and provide fresh fruits and veggies for yourself and your family. I think people are seeing how easy it is to grow your own food and the enjoyment gardening can bring.
A lot of people have put the time and effort in this year to start in-ground gardens, raised beds and containers — which will set them up to continue gardening next year. I think it's truly about making sure these new growers are successful, giving them the right tools and knowledge so they do want to continue growing for years to come. For myself, gardening is a great stress relief. Being outside and growing something, getting my hands dirty — it's very therapeutic. I like to have salads every day for lunch, but during this time I didn't want to go to the grocery store every week, so just by planting a few lettuce, kale and spinach plants, I've been able to go out and harvest those in my garden and provide that food for myself and husband.
GC: Do you know what planting trends we can expect for the coming year?
SE: I believe edible gardening is only going to grow. People want to know where their food is coming from. It's also a great cost savings measure. You can save a lot of money growing your own fruits and vegetables for your family, plus it tastes a lot better, too. There is a pride factor in being able to harvest something from your garden and bring it directly to your family's dinner table. I also believe small-space gardening is on the rise. You don't have to have a large plot of land for a garden. A few pots on a patio can still give you a great deal of food. Herbs and leafy greens are great for small-space gardening and can be harvested throughout the summer.
Lastly, as more people are staying home, I see a rise in colorful landscaping and the ability to really enjoy your yard. Plant some beautiful flowers to brighten up your outdoor living space. Even a few pots on a patio can transform a space and make it even more enjoyable.
GC: How can independent garden centers better market to the consumers during this time?
SE: Education and providing all the tools for success. With a great deal of new gardeners entering into the category, it's important to keep them engaged and ensure they are successful in growing, so they keep coming back for years to come. If someone is buying a live good, you want to ensure they have the proper growing media and plant food for where and what they are growing.
Even simple reminders to consumers on what time they can put their plants in the ground to ensure they don't get frost damaged helps. These new growers are going to look to independent garden centers as the experts and rely on their knowledge to ensure overall success. If they have a good experience, they will be back next year.
Source: Wakefield Research among 1,000 nationally representative U.S. adults ages 18+, between April 17-April 23, 2020