What will be the key garden trends in 2017?

Gardening trends for 2017 could include cacti, urban gardening, living walls and unusual foods, a round-up of reports from analysts and retailers has shown.

Cacti: a suggested trend in John Lewis shopping report - image: HW
Cacti: a suggested trend in John Lewis shopping report - image: HW

The annual John Lewis shopping habits report suggests cacti will be a trend. Instagram has helped create a fashion for retro indoor Monstera and rubber plants this year, while IKEA is embracing micro living and urban gardening.

Binsted Nurseries' Martin Emmett said vertical gardening will become more prevalent. Wonderwall from USP's Rick McKeever, a new product that helps gardeners grow upwards, is seen as increasingly attractive as gardens grow smaller.

Tillington chairman Dennis Espley predicted more emphasis on living wall hedges. Hillier managing director Chris Francis said he sees houseplants as home accessories and the "return of the British nursery" as trends in 2017. "We've got to capitalise on Brexit in the UK and think about how to appeal to the market," he added.

Verdict Retail's 2016 garden report predicts garden market resistance to "ongoing uncertainty over the UK housing market and the outcome of the Brexit vote". It adds: "Austere consumers perceive it as a low-cost and enjoyable hobby, and generally continue to purchase, with some even increasing how much they spend at the expense of more costly activities such as holidays.

"As garden centres expand and the gardening market becomes more consolidated, we expect store standards to be raised." Verdict said gardening shoppers are spending more time in their gardens - 37.8 per cent say they spend more time in their gardens than before and 45.4 per cent see the garden as an extension of the home.

In seeds, Fleuroselect has named 2017 the year of the zinnia and the bean, with seed companies backing that with new ranges. For grow your owners and the garden centre restaurant, top trends revealed in The Waitrose Food & Drink Report 2016 include lighter eating by swapping heavy cream sauces, for example, for vegetable purees. In the USA the flavours of carrot, beetroot, sweet potato and tomato are infused into yogurt for an accompaniment to food. Swapping potatoes for aubergines in cooking (up 18 per cent in 2016) is another example of lighter eating. Waitrose adds that fragrance-led botanical cocktails are in too, as are cactus water, seaweed and class-two "wonky" vegetables. Vegan options and botanically-infused drinks are also predicted to be trends.

Market research group Mintel said ahead of the UK's April 2018 sugar tax it is going to prove difficult for brands to play the "natural" card when pushing alternatives because plant-based sweetening ingredients such as stevia leaves have to be processed. When it comes to "natural" it is more likely that brands will look to profit from the simplicity of their bottled water lines, the analyst added.

To succeed among the growing African middle classes, authentic gourmet Tanzanian chocolate, Ethiopian Tella beer and chickpea and plantain snacks are already finding their way onto the market, said Mintel. Black soap made from the ash of locally harvested plants and barks such as plantain, cocoa pods, palm tree leaves and shea butter made from the fat of shea tree nuts are further trends.

Mintel also said increases in sales of pollution-protection products such as masks (83 per cent) and air purifiers (56 per cent) in China indicate that protection against pollution is a major concern. Using houseplants (52 per cent) and air-quality index monitoring (33 per cent) to counter pollution is also commonplace behaviour.

The biannual Lloyds Bank Insurance Britain at Home report, exploring the nation's use of and attitudes towards the sharing economy, found that more than 17 million Britons are now embracing the trend for "collaborative consumption". Although still in its infancy, UK adults are beginning to use the sharing economy to supplement their incomes, with the average annual earnings from renting out accommodation £411, a car £118 and even the family pet (£116).

Men in particular are taking advantage of the opportunity this presents, with nearly a fifth earning money from renting out items such as DIY tools (17 per cent) or lawn mowers (13 per cent), compared with only nine per cent of women (DIY tools nine per cent, lawn mowers nine per cent).

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