Container Gardening Grows off the Charts
Americans love to putter with plant-filled pots.
iStockphoto.com/Carolina K. Smith
COLLEGE STATION, TEXAS – When it comes to using plant-filled pots on the porch or around the landscape, Americans are hardly able to contain themselves.
U.S. consumers spend more than $1.3 billion a year on this gardening method, according to Container Gardening Associated, an online site devoted to the technique.
Container gardens, the use of a variety of plants in any type of container, are often associated with yardless apartments or condominiums. But they also are popular with the elderly and disabled , as well as for areas where soil quality is a problem or where pots define an area or direct traffic.
Retailers can cash in on container gardening by offering more extensive plant care information, making plant and container selection easy and pricing the pre-planted or do-it-yourself containers properly, according to a new study by Dr. Terri Starman, Texas AgriLife Research horticulturist.
"We found that there is a potential to increase the value of a container garden through providing educational material with the purchase," Starman says.
The study, in the current issue of the journal HortScience, also found that most people prefer a container garden with a complementary color harmony in the price range of $25. Complementary colors are opposite each other on the color wheel.
Starman says the research is useful for retailers, particularly as the U.S. economy slips.
Previous studies have shown that in hard economic times, people continue to garden – perhaps even more so because they stay close to home to save money, Starman says.
"The trend toward ‘green’ awareness calling us to reduce our carbon footprint also pertains to container gardening," she says. "Everything in container gardening is confined, so it takes less water and other inputs. And people are using them not only for flowers but for growing vegetables and herbs as food prices increase."
When container gardening became trendy about 10 years ago, retailers were initially hesitant for fear that the plants would not last long and the consumer would become dissatisfied, Starman says.