Kate Spirgen, editor

As garden centers dig into the depths of the busiest time of year, we wanted to bring you some statistics on one of the fastest-growing departments — houseplants. In this year’s Houseplant Report, we explore some new areas such as specialty houseplants, educational content and promotional methods. You can read all about it on page 25.

Compared to last year, it seems that IGCs are seeing a higher percentage of their sales coming from the indoor growing boom. Just looking at the high and low ends, those making less than 5% of sales from houseplants dropped 10 percentage points, and those making 50% or more rose by almost as many points.

There are three things that really stood out to me about this year’s Houseplant Report. One was the number of IGCs using Facebook to promote houseplants. More than 90% of IGCs reported that they promote their houseplants on Facebook, but only three-quarters reported using Instagram to showcase their indoor plant options. Given the popularity of houseplants on Instagram, it can be a great channel for showing off what you’ve got in stock. To learn more about some of the most successful houseplant accounts on Instagram, see page 22.

The second is the timing of the strongest houseplant sales. While 40% reported consistent sales year-round, 41% reported that spring is one of their biggest houseplant seasons. With so much to do outdoors, I was surprised to see that so many customers are buying indoor plants in the spring. Maybe they’re picking up plants while they’re at the IGC shopping for other items, or maybe folks want to green up their indoors when they start seeing everything come back to life outside. I personally get so excited about getting back outdoors after Cleveland winters that houseplants have to take a back seat to annuals, vegetables and herbs this time of year.

The last surprise in this year’s report for me was pricing. While IGCs reported seeing an increase in houseplant interest last year and an even bigger boom this year, price increases don’t seem to have seen a big bump. While I’ve definitely seen some high-priced houseplants on the market (some upwards of $400!), most seem to be on the moderate to conservative side. As supply chain issues caused decreased supply and demand remains strong, I was expecting to see more garden centers reporting an increase in prices in 2020.

I hope that this year’s report gives you some insights into one of the biggest trends in gardening. As new trends and customers hit garden centers this spring, I can’t wait to see what’s in store for the industry as a whole.

Kate Spirgen