#1 More Gardeners = A Bounty of Online Garden Content
We are thankful more than 20 million new growers picked up garden trowels during quarantine. And luckily the green industry responded in a huge way with more online garden content for both newbies and long-time gardeners. At Groovy Plants Ranch, we dove deep into plant nerdiness narratives on our social media posts, launched our “Penny Flora Thoughts” plant blog, plus uploaded YouTube and Tik Tok videos on everything from “How to Trim a Jade Plant” to a “Round Up of Our Favorite Wandering Dudes". Count on more of this in 2021, and look for in-person classes to return to our schoolhouse, hopefully this summer.
#2 Work from Home = A Greener Indoors
Houseplant sales continue to skyrocket as people work from home and crave the mental boost plants bring to indoor spaces. Trending for 2021: 1) anything variegated especially monsteras, 2) rare plants like Alocasia ‘Black Velvet’ or Monstera ‘Peru’, 3) indestructible sansevierias in new shapes and sizes; 4) easy-care statement plants like Ficus altissima in place of fussy fiddle leaf figs, 5) textured foliaged plants like velvety calatheas and rippled peperomias; cacti and succulents in novel shapes such as mistletoe, fishbone, monkey tail and bunny ear; 6) tabletop hydroponics; and 7) collections of tiny plants -- succulents, air plants and African violets – ideal for apartment living.
#3 Heading Outdoors = A New Naturalism in the Garden
Photo courtesy of Ball Seed Company
As more Americans discover outdoor sports and explore local parks, they're also embracing nature in their backyards. In his own garden, Jared had a blast planting zinnia seeds and watching Monarch caterpillars devour milkweed leaves with his 3-year-old daughter Lili. Plant breeders anticipate continued growth for this new naturalism movement and are introducing a lot of new native cultivars. Look for ‘Sombrero’ coneflowers, ‘Pink Crush’ asters, and ‘Gold Rush’ rudbeckias, Balmy Series Monardas and ‘Decadence’ baptisias, plus pollinator stars like Rockin’™ salvias, ‘State Fair’ zinnias and ‘Lemon Queen’ sunflowers. The birds and butterflies will thank you.
#4 Food Shortages = Homegrown Food
The fragility of our food system became more evident during the pandemic. As grocery stores’ shelves were emptied, many seed companies reported massive backorders and sellouts. Looking back, Jared delights in summer memories with Lili harvesting veggies for dinner, and many – especially cherry tomatoes – not even making it to the table. In 2020, Jared had trouble keeping up with the demand for veggie plants, so he’s boosted orders for 2021 plus added vegetable seeds for the first time. Garden goals – try growing superfoods like currants, elderberries, kale and grains, plus compact sizes for blueberries, cherry tomatoes, mini bell peppers, cucamelons, Tom Thumb carrots, baby watermelons and micro greens – perfect for an apartment balcony or a hungry three-year-old.
#5 Pandemic Blues = Pent-Up Demand for Spring Color
Following the 30% increase in holiday décor sales, Jared says he expects consumers will continue finding ways to bring cheerful décor to their home this spring. He anticipates they will buy an abundance of annuals and plant them with abandon. “Adding color to the landscape brings people such joy, so we’re expecting annuals like zinnias, marigolds and petunias to fly out the door in April and May.” Try new varieties like coleus, canary wings, beacon impatiens, and portulaca rio grande magenta. Fill containers and window boxes, line sidewalks, underplant mailboxes and edge borders for a colorful welcome to spring.
#6 Hybrid Schools = Backyard Classrooms
In the days of distance learning, kids and parents are discovering real-life lessons in the garden. Jared and Liz love finding bugs with Lili, picking flowers and planting carrot seeds together. According to KidsGardening, kids who learn to garden are 71% more likely to enjoy fresh veggies and fruits! This spring, try growing seeds indoors with your kiddos. Plant sunflower seeds along a garage and watch them climb 8 to 10 feet. Build a teepee then plant pole beans to climb it. Count blooms or pollinators with citizen science projects like Project BudBurst or Wild Pollinator Count. For more ideas, see Kids Gardening, Highland Youth Garden or Edible Schoolyard.