Spring 2013 Trend Watch: What’s Selling At Garden Centers And What Isn’t?

Retailers from across the country are reporting on which products and selling and which aren’t faring as well so far this spring.

Have You Noticed A Trend In Any Product Category Customers Are Buying? 

With much of the country experiencing a delayed spring, weather and its effect on the garden industry is on a lot of retailers’ minds.

Despite the delayed season, most felt sales were indicating consumer desire to spend on gardening.

Here are most commonly mentioned product categories performing well in 2013, from a short survey of retailers by Today’s Garden Center magazine:

  1. Vegetables
  2. Pottery and containers
  3. Hanging baskets
  4. Custom projects, like container gardens or small garden bed designs
  5. Shrubs

Many retailers also say that fairy or miniature gardening is a still a big demand. “Terrariums and their supplies have stayed strong through spring,” says Cactus Jungle Nursery & Garden’s Hap Hollibaugh. “It was odd to have to reorder glass this time of year after stocking up heavily after the Atlanta Gift show in January.”

 “We are in the heart of the path of the Sandy storm,” says Sickles Market owner Bob Sickles. “We were worried about landscape material sales as most homeowners had massive repairs to their homes and that would come first. That is true, but the homeowners that had no problems with the storm and their home, but did have landscape problems, are making up the difference.”

Which Category’s Slow Sales Have You Been Surprised By?

Since cold weather in much of the country delayed plant sales, it’s no surprise that annuals tops the list of slow-moving products:

  1. Annuals
  2. Trees
  3. Pots
  4. Tools
  5. Perennials

Pottery seems to be a volatile item this spring —  performing strongly for some, sluggishly for others. 

One retailer thinks she knows what’s having an impact on items like containers and garden art. 

“A tour of Big Lots may reveal the reason,” says Tish Llaneza, owner of Countryside Gardens. “They have Commerce Corp. closeouts filling five aisles at the Big Lots down the street.”

What Has Been The Biggest Positive Surprise This Spring In What Your Customers Are Buying?

 What surprised retailers weren’t necessarily the strongest sales, although organics and vegetables easily made the list. Big-ticket items like patio furniture, grills and trees saw a surge in sales for many:

  1. Organic
  2. Trees
  3. Patio furniture
  4. Vegetables
  5. Big ticket or high number of items purchased

Organics can probably thank the vegetable trend for its rise in popularity. And it is definitely popular throughout the country, even in the Midwest, where organic product sales had lagged behind the coasts.

“Organics is becoming the first choice for what I’d say is the majority of gardeners now,” says Phyllis Williams, co-owner of K&W Greenery in Janesville, Wis.

Those retailers who experienced a late-breaking spring saw trends that took them by surprise. “Since we’ve had a very late, cold spring (17 degrees one night last week) customers have been hesitant to buy live plants. We were suprised by the sales we’ve done in decorative garden items,” says Julie Hoffmann of East River Nursery, Huron, S.D. “It seems they just feel like they need to buy something, even if they aren’t ready for planting.”

Shortages

There do not seem to be any major shortages. The few retailers who reported having problems mentioned shortages in trees and shrubs most often.

Cactus Jungle’s Hollibaugh says small items are a hit with the party-planning crowd, making it difficult to source some of those items. “I’m having trouble finding small terra cotta, can’t seem to get the tiny stuff in and lots of people want it for weddings.”

Peggy May, marketing manager for Enchanted Nurseries and Landscapes, not only has had trouble sourcing larger specimen trees and shrubs. “It’s hard to find knowledgeable staff,” she says.

Topics:

Leave a Reply

One comment on “Spring 2013 Trend Watch: What’s Selling At Garden Centers And What Isn’t?

  1. it is interesting that tree sales are the 2nd biggest positive surprise and and also the 2nd biggest surprise from slow sales

More From State of the Industry...
protecting bees and pollinators video

March 31, 2015

New Video On Protecting Bees And Pollinators Educates Horticulture Industry Professionals

A new educational video that provides information on the horticultural industry’s essential role in bee and pollinator stewardship is one result of industry collaboration by the Horticultural Research Institute, AmericanHort, Society of American Florists and the American Floral Endowment. “Protecting Bees & Pollinators: What Horticulture Needs to Know,” narrates the current state of bee and pollinator health, provides information on factors that impact pollinators and the environment and underscores the beneficial role horticulture plays in providing healthy pollinator ecosystems.

Read More
Basil_Persian-AAS2015_620x329

March 31, 2015

California Summer Vegetable Trials To Be Hosted By National Garden Bureau Members

Vegetable breeding companies will come together this August to host the Summer Vegetable Trials in California. Like the long-standing California Spring Trials that are held annually in California, attendees will have the opportunity to visit breeding companies' trial sites in seven locations throughout the state, from August 20-21, 2015. National Garden Bureau (NGB), the non-profit organization promoting gardening on behalf of the horticulture industry, is organizing and publicizing this event on behalf of its members.

Read More
DNA-logo

March 31, 2015

DNA Green Group Will Acquire Rijnplant

DNA Green Group and Riknplant have finalized DNA Green Group's acquisition of Rijnplant, meaning that the breeding and propagation activities in pot and cut anthurium, bougainvillea and heliconia will transfer to DNA Green Group.

Read More
Latest Stories
protecting bees and pollinators video

March 31, 2015

New Video On Protecting Bees And Pollinators Educates H…

A new educational video that provides information on the horticultural industry’s essential role in bee and pollinator stewardship is one result of industry collaboration by the Horticultural Research Institute, AmericanHort, Society of American Florists and the American Floral Endowment. “Protecting Bees & Pollinators: What Horticulture Needs to Know,” narrates the current state of bee and pollinator health, provides information on factors that impact pollinators and the environment and underscores the beneficial role horticulture plays in providing healthy pollinator ecosystems.

Read More

March 25, 2015

NASS Reports U.S. Honey Production Was Up By 19 Percent…

Honey production in 2014 from producers with five or more colonies totaled 178 million pounds, up 19 percent from 2013, according to a March 20 report from the USDA's National Agricultural Statistics Service (NASS).

Read More
cultivate'15 logo

March 4, 2015

Cultivate’15: AmericanHort Announces What’s…

In an industry that has seen major changes occurring at a fast pace, many industry professionals leave Cultivate with their heads spinning and no clear idea of how to regroup and strategize. Cultivate’15 is “Changing the Game.” As this year’s focus, Changing the Game will call your attention to the ways in which our industry has changed and your opportunities to compete successfully.

Read More
Greenhouse Grower State of the Industry

February 2, 2015

Download Greenhouse Grower’s 2015 State Of The In…

The Greenhouse Grower 2015 State Of The Industry Whitepaper includes all the results of the survey, including comparisons on 2014 sales to past years, details on how 2015 production volume and prices will compare to 2014, crops that growers will increase and decrease production on, where growers stand on using neonicotinoids on crops, how many growers will pursue growing medical marijuana and more.

Read More

January 27, 2015

Benchmarks: Let’s Change Our Story

It's a new year. Time for our industry to change how consumers perceive plants by creating a new reality where plants are valued for more than their physical beauty.

Read More

January 21, 2015

AFE Wins Platinum MarCom Award For “Murder, Sex a…

The American Floral Endowment (AFE) took home its fourth award for the animated awareness video "Murder, Sex and Greed." The organization also recently announced that there are two new members on its board of trustees.

Read More
Greenhouse Grower State of the Industry

January 19, 2015

2015 State Of The Industry: Current Green Industry Tren…

Demand for green industry products and services is forecasted to increase in coming years as the housing market rebounds.

Read More
DNA-logo

January 14, 2015

Terra Nigra Joins DNA Green Group

DNA Green Group will be expanding its range of cut flowers by incorporating Terra Nigra, a company specializing in breeding and propagation of gerberas and roses.

Read More

January 14, 2015

Florensis Receives Horticultural Entrepreneur Award

During the January 7, 2015 award ceremony in the Keukenhof, in Lisse, Netherlands, Florensis received the Horticultural Entrepreneur Award. Florensis was one of four nominated companies, which also included Arcadia BV, Artemis and Martens Asperges.

Read More
AmericanHort

January 9, 2015

AmericanHort Celebrates Its First Birthday

AmericanHort was formally launched one year ago on January 1, 2014, and the association is celebrating numerous successes of the first year.

Read More
Carol Miller

January 7, 2015

We’re All In This Together

Growers and retailers have a common goal — to serve customers better. In this new column, Greenhouse Grower will take a look at ways growers and retailers can work together to take advantage of profit opportunities and better meet customer needs.

Read More

January 7, 2015

Industry Speaks Out Against “Waters Of The U.S.” Rule

The Environmental Protection Agency’s proposed rule change to the Clean Water Act, known as “waters of the U.S.,” has the potential to disrupt normal business practices for growers across the country.

Read More

January 7, 2015

Students Tackle Real-Life Challenges At National FFA Fl…

Top prize winners put skills learned in the classroom to the test at the National Future Farmers of America (FFA) Floriculture Career Development Event.

Read More
Lesley Judd

January 7, 2015

2014 Meister Scholarship Awarded To Ph.D Student

The Richard T. Meister Scholarship was awarded to Lesley Judd, a graduate student with a passion for horticulture and a desire to pass her knowledge along through teaching.

Read More

January 6, 2015

39th Annual Today’s Horticulture Symposium Will Be Febr…

The Professional Gardener Alumni Association (PGAA) will hold the 39th Annual Today’s Horticulture Symposium program will be on February 6, 2015 from 8 a.m. or 4 p.m. in the Ballroom at Longwood Gardens, and will feature an array of engaging speakers.

Read More
Shawn McBurney

January 6, 2015

Society Of American Florists Hires New Lobbyist

Shawn McBurney joined the Society of American Florists' (SAF) staff starting January 5 as the new senior director of government relations.

Read More
Greenhouse Grower State of the Industry

January 5, 2015

Growers Are Optimistic For A Strong Year In 2015

Greenhouse Grower’s State Of The Industry survey reveals that growers are being cautious about the inputs they use, and they’re worried about input costs and regulation, but enthusiastic about the rebounding economy.

Read More
Greenhouse Grower State of the Industry

January 5, 2015

The 2015 State Of The Greenhouse Industry: Numbers At A…

Greenhouse Grower's 2015 State Of The Industry Survey shows some promising trends for the new year. Here's a look at the greenhouse market for 2015.

Read More