Sales show consumers still love gardening

Departments - Outlook

June 6, 2011

David Kuack recently surveyed its 27,500 professional and recreational gardeners and found that 58 percent said flower gardening is their most favorite type of gardening. Another 21 percent chose vegetable gardening. Native plant gardening and herb gardening (both about 5 percent) were other categories selected. Vegetable gardening (21 percent) was selected as the most popular gardening trend. One of the more interesting questions was when did people start to garden. About 38 percent of respondents indicated they began to garden before the age of 10. Twenty-three percent started gardening between 20-29 years old, followed by age 10-19 (17 percent) and age 30-39 (nearly 13 percent). The time to get people interested in gardening is when they are young and impressionable.

Also, since more than a third of people indicated they didn’t start gardening until they were age 20 or older, there is a good opportunity to interest Gen X and Y consumers in some type of gardening activity.

Plant sales increasing, growers decreasing
The recently released USDA 2010 Floriculture Crops Summary showed the wholesale value of floriculture crops for the 15 state program at $4.13 billion, which is up from $4 billion in 2009. With an improving economy, this is a trend that should continue.

The 2010 wholesale value for all categories of finished plants increased over 2009. The wholesale value of bedding and garden plants was $1.91 billion, an increase of 4 percent from 2009. This crop category continues to be the driver for our industry representing 48 percent of the wholesale value of all reported crops. It is the largest contributor to value of sales.

Even as plant sales are increasing, the number of growers producing those plants is declining. For the 15 state program, the number of growers decreased 7 percent. Hopefully, as the economy continues to recover, more growers will see opportunities to start their own business.

California’s crop value, at just over $1 billion, was up 8 percent from 2009. Florida, at $810 million, saw a decline in value of 1 percent.

For more: USDA-National Agricultural Statistics Service,

David Kuack