Grow your own is shaking up the image of gardening away from being something only older people do, a study of attitudes towards gardening among home-owning 25- to 45-year-olds has found.
The research, commissioned by the HTA, targeted marginal gardeners in the age group to try and uncover obstacles and opportunities for market growth.
"There was a feeling that gardening is becoming more trendy. Grow your own is driving that," said Sally Beswick of Shine Research, which carried out the study. "The whole interest in healthy eating and cooking is leading to grow your own."
Beswick, who will speak at the HTA's Garden Futures conference next week, also cited pride in their house as a key driver for the group. "They want it to look good and see the garden as an extension of the home, especially for socialising. They want it a bit individual, funky and stylish," she added.
Many respondents appeared pleased with the results from growing their own fruit and vegetables, expressing great satisfaction at being able to include produce in cooking for friends, she said.
A clear influence on many were parents who gardened, leading to greater confidence and a sense that they would become more than marginal gardeners later in their lives.
Beswick said clear opportunities for the industry emerged including better targeting of less confident gardeners who want a good garden but do not know how.
"What they need from a garden centre are beds that work with information cards on keeping the look going."
Other angles include promotions aimed at parents to share with offspring and help with creating gardens incorporating children's needs.
HTA Garden Futures - Peat task force plans
Speakers at next week's HTA Garden Futures conference include Government peat-reduction tsar Alan Knight.
"The task force reports to Government in less than a year and Knight has his work cut out to find the right solutions," said the HTA. "We look forward to hearing his plans."
Knight formerly headed up environmental plans for Wyevale Garden Centres and a move towards peat reduction at B&Q.
For further details on the event, see www.gardenfutures.org.uk.