The real competition

Departments - Editor’s Note

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April 5, 2022

Portrait by Amber Smith

I’ve heard it said time and time again that the big-box stores aren’t the competition; it’s everything else consumers could be spending their money on. It’s hobbies, travel, concert tickets, dining out and all of the various options for discretionary spending.

So as life returns to a more normal routine (and more normal expenses) for consumers, there is some concern about what that means for the garden industry. Combine that with increasing inflation and supply chain troubles, and there’s certainly plenty to worry about.

Although the industry isn’t seeing the kind of explosive growth it saw when COVID first hit, our 2022 Houseplant Report research shows that demand is still strong. Nearly 80% of garden centers sold more houseplants in 2021 than 2020, and 85% are expecting to see growth again this year. We delve deeper into this data on in the Houseplant Report to give you a better idea of how the market looks now and where it’s headed.

So while competition might be stiff, people are hooked on houseplants. Now it’s a matter of fueling that obsession and becoming the go-to source for everything plant parents need. Otherwise, they’ll be shopping elsewhere.

On the last weekend in March, my local Facebook houseplant group organized a three-hour multi-vendor plant pop-up shop offering rare houseplants, common varieties, miniature options, terrariums and more at a local coffee shop. It brought together some of the more than 8,000 members to shop, swap tips and share their love of plants. I can’t help but wonder why they didn’t host it at one of our local independent garden centers instead.

These folks get together regularly to swap cuttings, get growing advice and sell their homegrown plants. A garden center would be the ideal spot for these gatherings, especially if the IGC could offer up houseplant advice and growing supplies.

North Haven Gardens in Texas is having great success connecting with social media groups to gauge market interest, determine fair pricing and build their reputation. You can read all about that, including insights into the best way to price your houseplants by clicking here.

And if you’re looking for more market insights, click here to see the best-selling varieties of 2021, along with their Instagram popularity.

Kate Spirgen kspirgen@gie.net

As the houseplant market continues to grow and change, there are vast opportunities to keep gardening top of mind, even if your customers have more demands on their wallets this year.