The emerging trend for convenience gardening

Products aimed at younger gardeners with less basic horticultural knowledge.

Indoor plants: increasingly popular among customers with smaller gardens and little horticultural experience - image: HW
Indoor plants: increasingly popular among customers with smaller gardens and little horticultural experience - image: HW

Products to suit "convenience gardening" as well as urban and rental lifestyles, and to promote health and well-being, feature in a garden trends document issued by Wyevale Garden Centres.

The document cites the rise of convenience gardening as a response to the decline of basic horticultural knowledge among Britain's younger gardeners, increased demand for products to suit an urban and rental lifestyle and the benefits of gardening for improving health and well-being.

Wyevale highlights trends such as preplanted pots, hardy plants and shrubs, and features some new plants such as wallflowers, salvias, hellebores and Viburnum 'Kilimanjaro Sunrise'. New vegetable varieties introduced as part of a predicted trend towards heritage and healthy grow your own vegetables include purple kale, carrots, onions, tomatoes and sweet potatoes along with heritage products such as "Heinz 1370", the strain of tomato originally used to make ketchup, as well as more courgette plants.

Further trends are eco-consciousness, with 6X Natural Organic Fertiliser, Keter structures for small gardens, the Feather range of ultra-lightweight pots, windowsill propagators, growhouses and small vegetable trugs. Wyevale also hopes to sell more wildlife-attracting plants such as delphinium, calendula and alyssum as well as accessories such as hedgehog houses and bee or bug hotels.

Preplanted pots and indoor plants including calathea, monstera and cacti suit those with small gardens and those who have little experience, says Wyevale, which adds that Pantone has chosen "greenery" as its colour of the year.

Haskins has begun an indoor plants campaign. Plant adviser Alasdair Urquhart points out that people are exposed to many chemicals and fumes and says a "healthy houseplant is an ideal investment at this time of year" when windows are closed because of the cold and plants will purify the air. He recommends areca palm, peace lily, aloe vera, Boston fern and Phlebodium 'Blue Star'.

Focus on houseplants

Wyevale head of trading, horticulture head Mark Sage, says the group will focus on three big areas in 2017. One is houseplants, where the range continues to grow after seeing an uplift, particularly on cacti and foliage, in 2016. The second is adding "local difference" by using local growers to supply to a local climate. This will start in the South West coastal area and expand later this year.

The third is large-format plants with examples such as viburnum, aucuba and phormium, of which more will be available. Sage suggests they will be tougher "rather than palms and lines that come out of Italian growers. It's more about UK-tolerant plants for every changing climate."

Sage says container gardening has seen double-digit growth for the past three years as gardens get smaller. Grow your own is now established as a category and purple plants will be a promotional feature in May. He points out that there are "opportunities" for UK growers to show what they can do post-Brexit.Value remains "important" but you need to "distinguish between price and value".

January's online Wyevale launch is going well and will have a lot more plants added soon, he adds. Wyevale gathers trend information from face-to-face focus groups, its gardening club and feedback from horticulture managers, formally and informally.

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