Gardening is a fantastic hobby and has many benefits associated with it. However, it does require some legwork and research to make gardening a successful operation. Fortunately, there are various gardening trends and statistics annually to serve as helpful resources for your garden.
This post will serve as an informational and statistical guide on everything you need to know about gardening in the United States, including health benefits, spending habits, time spent gardening popularity among age groups, trends, popular plants, and more.
Scientific Studies on Health Benefits of Gardening
Did you know that gardening has many positive benefits to offer when it comes to our health? Scientists seem to think so. Discover the impacts gardening has on our health and well-being, all from conducted research.
UNC Health Talk: Benefits of Gardening
Robert Hutchins, MD, MPH articulated the following benefits of gardening through his article on UNC Health Talk:
- Gardening can foster self-esteem, make you feel more in-tune with nature, and feel a sense of accomplishment.
- Activities associated with gardening, such as pulling weeds, nurture cardiovascular health.
- Gardening is associated with relieving stress and decreasing the likelihood of anxiety and depression.
- Gardening increases serotonin levels, which increase overall happiness.
- Activities associated with gardening maximizes hand strength and dexterity.
- Participating in gardening as a family is suitable for bonding experiences. Exposing children to dirt at an early age can reduce the likelihood of being affected by environmental allergies or autoimmune diseases.
- Being in the garden means you’re in the sun, which is an excellent way to receive adequate Vitamin D amounts.
- Growing your food is healthier because you know without question what you’re eating. You know for sure whether your plants have pesticides or harsh chemicals present.
Princeton University: Study On Emotional Well-being Linked to Gardening
In May 2020, researchers at Princeton University conducted a study to determine whether gardening was similar to other social activities in providing emotional well-being.
The sample size consisted of 370 participants in the Minneapolis-St. Paul area, all of the different genders and racial backgrounds. Each participant used a cellphone app to rate emotional well-being concerning fifteen various activities.
Results indicated that the emotional well-being associated with home-gardening tasks was similar to emotional well-being related to hobbies such as biking, walking, or dining out. Participants stated that gardening felt meaningful, mainly because they grew their food and got pleasure from attempting self-sustainment.
Journal of Environmental Horticulture: Review of Plants’ on Mental and Emotional Health
One scientific review, published in March of 2019, reviews the most relevant studies conducted by scientific peers on the benefits of gardening to mental and emotional health. The study of the literature revealed the following results:
- Decreased stress levels and increased mental well-being when people lived near, had a daily view of green settings, or spent time in green environments.
- Women generally experienced more stress than men if away from natural settings. Women that participated in gardening had decreased cortisol levels, which indicated reduced stress.
- Those that connected with nature resulted in having improved creativity and mental clarity.
- Gardening and connecting with nature reduced the symptoms associated with ADD/ADHD, such as memory retention and attention, and improved overall cognitive functioning.
- Presence in nature correlated with overall happiness, quality of life, and satisfaction.
- Gardening/horticultural therapy resulted in decreased severity of both dementia and PTSD-related symptoms.
Spending Habits on Gardening
Each year, the amount of money spent on gardening links to various trends that impact horticulture participation. The average amount of people spend on gardening is currently on the upswing, especially this year, with the presence of COVID-19. Find out what trends are impacting gardening and peoples’ spending habits when it comes to their gardens.
2019 Vs. 2020 Consumer Spending on Home and Garden Products
According to Future Commerce, spending on home and garden products started to flourish in 2016 and continued to grow 14.4% each year following.
In 2019, the average spending on home and garden products from January through mid-May was seven to fourteen million dollars. Seems like a lot of money, right? With COVID-19 and its socially distancing orders, 2020 had almost double the amount of 2019. From January to mid-May 2020, the average amount spent was approximately nine to twenty-one million dollars.
2020 Sales Reports of Home and Gardening Companies
According to Scotts Miracle-Gro, their sales numbers on lawn and garden supplies were up 23% at the end of the first quarter in 2020.
Klaviyo, an e-commerce platform, reported a 63% increase in home and garden sales from mid-March to mid-May. ShrubBucket, another reputable plant e-commerce platform, reported a 1,200 percent annual increase in demand for plants in 2020, thirteen times as much as 2019.
Retailers such as Home Depot reported at least a 6.4% increase in home and garden product sales from their most recent quarter.
How Much Money Are People Spending on Gardening Supplies?
The Garden Research’s 2018 National Gardening Survey found that 77% more Americans participated in gardening activities, spending a whopping total of $47.8 billion on gardening and landscaping supplies that year. Here are some of the highest sold garden supplies and plants this year:
- Gardening technologies-cell phone apps, self-watering pots, grow lights, Bluetooth gadgets to measure various growing aspects
- Soil and fertilizer
- Wildlife attracting plants and wildlife habitats
- Fruit, vegetable, and herb seeds
Time Spent on Gardening
Whether it’s tending to a houseplant or an outdoor garden, gardening can take some extra time and effort. The time required to take care of a garden also heavily depends on the plant itself. Find out all the statistics related to average times people spend in the garden.
Let’s Ask Experienced Farmers
Colin McCrate and Brad Halm are both experienced CSA farmers and writers for Storey. These two experts broke down approximate times you can expect to spend in a garden based on its size:
- 100-200 Square Feet-Half and hour to an hour per week
- 200-400 Square Feet-An hour or two per week
- 400-800 Square Feet-A minimum of two to three hours per week
- 800-1,500 Square Feet-Four to six hours per week
- 1,500-2,000 Square Feet-Six to eight hours per week
- 2,000-4,000 Square Feet-Eight to twelve hours per week
- 4,000-8,000 Square Feet-Twelve to fifteen hours per week
- 8,000-15,000 Square Feet-Fifteen to twenty hours per week
- 15,000-22,000 Square Feet-Twenty or more hours per week
- 22,000-44,000 Square Feet-Requires a full-time manager
Most High Maintenance and Time-Consuming Plants
According to HGTV, avoid the following plants if you don’t have the time or the patience to grow them: zebra plants, azaleas, orchids, wandering Jews, Boston ferns, elephant ears, weeping figs, roses, banana plants, autumn ferns, cabbage trees, cheese plants, gardenias, fiddle-leaf figs, basil plants, crotons, air plants, and Venus flytraps.
Plants That Require the Least Maintenance and Time
Fortunately, there are many plants to grow that are low maintenance, require little time and gardening experience. Flowers such as cosmos, marigolds, canna lilies, peonies, geraniums, and honeysuckle are relatively easy to grow.
Various grass types, including fountain grass and ribbon grass, require little fuss and are known to thrive in the garden. Other examples of plants that require short time and maintenance are various herbs such as rosemary and thyme, succulents, laurel, and creeping jennys.
How Popular Is Gardening Amongst Certain Age Groups?
Who makes up a significant part of the gardening demographic? Per the Garden Research’s 2018 National Gardening Survey in the US, 11% are 18-29-year-olds, 21% are 30-49-year-olds, 29% are 50-64 year-olds, and the other 39% are predominately 65 years and older or younger than 18. In terms of gender, 54% percent of gardeners are female.
Since 2018, gardening has become increasingly popular with millennials. Millennials now make up approximately 29% of the gardening population.
The Popularity of Gardening By Location
Gardening has been very popular in the United States this year throughout the entire nation. However, each region has a varying growing climate that restricts growing success for individual plants and how much people garden leisurely.
The individuals’ gardening method also depends heavily on living situations, such as rural vs. urban environments and homes with yards vs. small apartment living spaces.
Container gardening, community gardens, and house plants’ organization are common in urban areas and small living spaces. On the other hand, people in rural areas or homes with more yard space often opt for in-ground gardens or raised beds.
Food Garden Sizes By Region
Gardening popularity per state is a challenging statistic to gauge, mainly because you have to purchase gardening statistics reports. However, each US region makes up a percentage of food gardens consisting of fruit, vegetables, and herbs. Here is the breakdown:
- 23% West
- 26% Midwest
- 29% South
- 22% Northeast
Trends in Growing Fruit and Vegetables at Home
There are many different reasons why people are opting to grow their fruit and vegetables at home. More people are opting to grow fruit and veggies because of a stronger focus on health, demand for organic food, and the desire to remain sustainable.
Most Common Vegetables Grown at Home in 2020
There are several vegetables commonly grown within the United States:
- Tomatoes: 86% of peoples’ food gardens.
- Cucumbers: 47% of food gardeners have cucumbers.
- Sweet Peppers: 46% of food gardeners plant sweet peppers.
- Onions: found in 32% of food gardens
- Hot peppers: found in 31% of food gardens
- Beans: make up 39% of the nation’s food gardens
- Lettuce: found in 28% of food gardens
- Carrots: make up 34% of food gardens
- Sweet corn: account for 23% of peoples’ food gardens
- Peas: found in 24% of food gardens
- Summer squash: consist of 32% of US gardens
Most Common Fruits Grown at Home in 2020
Although growing fruit varies by region, here are the most commonly grown fruits in the United States:
- Apple, peach, and cherry trees
Popular Flowers and Plants
The most popular flowers and plants can vary by climate and region; however, some are consistent crowd-pleasers.
Most Popular Indoor Plants for 2020
Indoor plants are massively popular this year, and a lot of the reason is that you can incorporate indoor plants into your home no matter where you live. Here are some of the most popular indoor plants for 2020:
- Succulents and euphorbias
- Trees: rubber, olive, money
- Prayer plants
- String of pearls
- Spider plants
- Plants with multi-colored foliage: Chinese Evergreen, croton, stromanthe, snake plants
Most Popular Outdoor Plants and Flowers for 2020
Outdoor plants and flowers are a beautiful asset to any outdoor landscape. Fortunately, you don’t necessarily need a yard to host outdoor plants. Outdoor plants are grown in raised beds, balcony planters, hanging baskets, containers, and many more places.
Here are some of the trendiest, most popular outdoor plants and flowers people can’t stop snapping pictures of and growing:
- Perennials: Irises, lavender, Japanese Sedge, daylilies, peonies, black-eyed Susans, thyme, Lamb’s ear, chamomile, hostas, catmint, ornamental grasses, Russian sage, dianthus, baptisa
- Annuals: Lantana, begonias, cosmos, dahlias, geraniums, impatiens, marigold, pansies, petunias, snapdragons, sunflowers
- Flowering shrubs: hydrangeas, Rose of Sharon, forsythia, hibiscus, rhododendron, butterfly bush
- Trees: citrus, magnolia, dogwood, cherry, oak, maple, pine
2020 Trends in Garden Design and Function
Part of tending a garden involves keeping it both functional and aesthetically pleasing with design elements. According to Garden Design and Farmer’s Almanac, learn which trends have hit it off in the garden design world this year.
Gardening vertically is just how it sounds. This method of gardening is perfect for those with limited living space, such as an apartment. Incorporate these vertical gardening tips into your living space:
- Arrange wall planters or mounts
- Use flower pot rings for balcony or porch setup
- Incorporate the use of wall vases
Technology To Help Indoor Plants Thrive
With the houseplant craze in place, people are looking for technology’s help left and right this year. Some individuals are turning to the use of grow lights for lack of light sources. Those unsure of how useful their light source is can use the app Plant Light Meter to see how much light is coming through.
If remembering to water plants isn’t your strong suit, consider trying a self-watering plant.
Use of Compost and Sustainable Soil
The art of composting has been around for years, but this year it’s gaining momentum. Compost is beneficial because you can use it anywhere. It also provides plants with the required nutrients to fertilize and grow and reduces carbon footprint.
Another rising trend is sustainable soil, which means using methods to build nurturing soil. Examples of sustainable soil practices include avoiding tilling and rotating crops.
Repurposed Garden Items
While you can find pots and garden items virtually anywhere, it’s better for the environment and for your pocket to repurpose old items. Anything DIY is a craze, especially when it comes to garden design this year. There are thousands of DIY tutorials available, including anywhere from repurposing old pots to making hanging planters out of a frame.
Low Maintenance Gardens
Having a low maintenance garden might not be a trend specific to 2020, but it’s a trend on the rise. Consider avoiding some of the high maintenance plants and going in the direction of low maintenance plants previously suggested in this article.
Consider Planting Multi-purpose Plants
Using plants that perform more than one function further contributes to a low maintenance garden, which is why it’s a trend this year. Here are some ways plants can serve double duty:
- Acting as a mosquito repellant
- Attractive scents
- Food sources
- Cooling or shading environments
Presence of Bee Hotels and Amphibian Habitats
It’s no secret that the bee population is declining, which is a significant reason why bee hotels are prominent in the gardening scene this year. The bee hotel habitats commonly consist of hollow stems or bricks near their typically pollinated flowers or plants.
Amphibians are also instrumental in a thriving well-balanced garden ecosystem. Part of the reason people are making efforts to attract amphibians to their garden is that they act as natural exterminators. Amphibians will eat all kinds of pesky creatures that destroy plants.
Attract amphibians to your garden with the use of stones or upside pots to provide them with shade. Avoid the use of chemicals in your garden if you desire the presence of amphibians.
Growing Edible Mushrooms
This year, many gardeners turn to growing edible mushrooms because of their nutritious value and ability to absorb pollutants in the air. Make sure you do your research before planting because some species of mushrooms are poisonous.