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Springing Forward: Gardening Post-Pandemic Trends

As the world emerges from the pandemic, garden centers find themselves at a crossroads. The surge in interest, particularly among millennials seeking solace in green spaces during lockdowns, propelled a remarkable boom in the industry. According to the National Gardening Association’s 2023 National Gardening Survey, a staggering 80% of U.S. households delved into lawn and gardening activities in 2022, marking a five-year high. With spending per household reaching an average of $616, up $74 from the previous year, the momentum seemed unstoppable. However, as the dust settles, questions loom over whether this newfound passion for gardening will endure beyond the confines of the pandemic.

Despite the initial fervor, signs of stabilization have emerged, with sales figures plateauing between 2022 and 2023. Danny Summers, managing director of The Garden Center Group, observed a notable 25% increase in sales compared to 2019, indicating substantial growth. Yet, the flattening of sales totals suggests a need for reflection within the industry. Amidst this backdrop, the onset of spring, the pinnacle season for garden centers, brings both opportunities and challenges. With approximately 60% of annual sales generated during these crucial 12 weeks, the stakes are high. As Lydia Patubo, general manager at Flowercraft, a San Francisco-based garden center, notes, the season ushers in a flurry of activity, with houseplants, vegetable starts, and citrus trees flying off the shelves. However, lurking beneath the surface are the formidable obstacles of volatile weather patterns and escalating costs for labor and plant materials, compelling businesses to adjust pricing strategies to maintain profitability.

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