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Will First-Time Gardeners Return to the Soil in Spring 2021?

Will First-Time Gardeners Return to the Soil in Spring 2021?

There’s no denying that the propensity towards gardening has certainly changed since the pandemic began back in March of 2020. But the real question on everyone’s mind is how many first-time gardeners will return in 2021?

According to Katie Dubow, president of the award-winning lawn and garden public relations agency Garden Media Group, she anticipates 80 percent of last year’s first-time gardeners will give it a try again in 2021.

“The shutdown gave everyone the opportunity to change things and to build back better communities. People were able to hit the reset button and more importantly, people were able to slow down, enabling them to pick up gardening,” says Dubow.

According to The Great Reset, Garden Media Group’s 2021 Garden Trends Report, the U.S. added some 16 million first-time gardeners during the pandemic and many were under the age of 35 – the sweet spot for advertisers and retailers.

Additionally, more than 50% of American adults are now spending two additional hours per day outdoors – more than they were before the pandemic began.

But some industry experts are cautious to commit to the notion that first-time gardeners will return in droves once life returns to some sort of normalcy. Careers, relationships, families and finances, which have all been somewhat neutralized during the pandemic, may once again place limitations on people’s time and resources.

“It is a hobby and a hobby is all about the competition for people’s time. When there are no other hobbies to go to, like hockey, soccer, tennis and so on, there is time for gardening,” says Dubow.

But one thing many industry experts can agree on is if in fact there’s an 80% retention rate with first-time gardeners in 2021, education will be key to that retention.

“The over-the-fence model is stronger than ever. But community groups online are also great sources of information. Joining a local gardening group will not only give you important regional tips, but connect you with local people who love to garden, and you might even score some free plants,” says Dubow.

Beyond just growing flowers and vegetables in wholesale planters, hanging baskets, decorative containers and more, the horticulture industry can do their part as well.

A few ideas include offering educational sessions at garden centers and nurseries, blog posts optimized for SEO so you’ll be found online, informational newsletters to your customer database, more detailed product labeling and even mentoring programs.

After all, what better resource for first-time gardeners to learn about gardening than from the experts who grow the plants?

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