Julie Campbell

Julie Campbell

Departments - Three questions

The University of Georgia research scientist discusses the latest plant trends.

August 23, 2022

Photo courtesy of Julie Campbell

Greenhouse Management: What are some of the consumer buying trends you’re currently seeing?

Julie Campbell: Houseplants are super-hot right now. It’s kind of a weird market where you had all of these little micro-sellers pop up on Facebook pages, on Etsy and different sites where they were making [more] money [on rare houseplant sales], and then these larger companies said, ‘Hey, they are making lots of money. We should probably get into this.’ So now some of these rare houseplants that you used to never be able to find are going commercial. People are finding that houseplants are really hot right now and I think it has a lot to do with people who are renters, who are in smaller living spaces. They don’t necessarily have the space to do the big-time landscaping that people traditionally would have done and would have bought from the green industry. But people seek things that are green and alive.

GM: What stands out to you amid the broader houseplant trend?

JC: I think there are different segments. Any time you have a market, there are different segments and different price points. You have those people who will go out and look for the rarest of the rare. So you will have those people who will spent $3,000 on a random houseplant no one has ever seen, but people covet. But then you have the midpoint people who pay $20 for other plants. Four or five years ago, that may not have been a price point you could have put on a houseplant. But now it is because there is demand and a lot of people [are] interested.

GM: What are you looking at in terms of future sales?

JC: We have been looking at how businesses have seen the market change. So, during the pandemic, lots of people offered curbside pickup. And I think a lot of consumers really liked that. I don’t necessarily know that some of these businesses can continue to do that, but I do know that curbside or home delivery is very enticing to consumers. So that’s something we should look at and ask if it’s viable and who it’s viable for. ... There is also something to be said that an entire segment of consumers — and I’m in this segment — that enjoy going to a garden center and looking at all of the different plants. Like I just love being in there, seeing all of the different colors, seeing the different foliage. And I’m an impulsive shopper. So it’s understanding that there are people who want a specific thing and can order it online, but knowing there are shoppers who like to browse and buy something because it looks really good.