Who would have imagined that there would come a day where individuals would be purchasing a plant from the comfort of their office desks while sipping a cup of coffee. Passing an era where the only way people could purchase plants was by physically visiting a nursery, choosing plants potted in heavy pots and luring the nurserymen with some extra money to load them in the cars, we have now reached an era where people are swamped with online plant nurseries that lure them with millions of options to choose from.
According to Ian Baldwin, a business advisor for the gardening industry, “Millennials were responsible for 31 percent of houseplant sales in 2016”. The 2016 National Gardening survey found that of the six million Americans who took up gardening that year, five million were ages 18 to 34. Thanks to the millennials and e-commerce, the trend of online shopping has passed on to plant purchases as well.
Due to ease of purchase and increasing awareness among millennials, India has seen a huge growth in the pot plant/houseplant industry. The trade association’s Barometer of Trade report found outdoor plant sales were up 26.94% compared to the same month in 2017 and sales of houseplants were close behind at 24.1% up. Rapid urbanization, increase in income levels and changes in lifestyle have resulted in increased demand for floriculture in domestic market. Floriculture in India now occupies an area greater than 2.5 lakh ha compared to 1.44 lakh ha in 2006 – 2007. According to a study conducted by Indian Flowers and Ornamental Plants Welfare Association (iFlora), India’s flower and plant market has the potential to grow to ten fold in the next five years. Plants have exploded in popularity in the past couple of years, and Areca and Crassula are now household names. Aloe Vera was the only succulent plant that was popular in households a few years ago and now we have succulent doodles and #succalove and other such hashtags that are largely trending online. Experts across the world have predicted the following trends pertaining to houseplants for the following year:
- Succulents will remain to be the most popular houseplant during the next few years due to the ease of growing and maintenance.
- Vertical gardens will come up in various parts of the world and will provide a large chunk of business to farm owners.
- Nurserymen and online retailers in India should focus promotional campaigns around Diwali as the sales of indoor plants and air – purifying houseplants such as areca palm, money plant, aloe vera and spathiphyllum had shot up to a great extent last year.
- Pot plants have been increasingly seen as great gift options and Industry members believe that plants have a great potential in this segment with many online nurseries offering decorated pots and goodie bags with small pot plants as gifts.
- With farm owners and industry experts coming up with plant varieties that can survive well in low light, many companies are moving towards greener office spaces. The next few years will see a surge in demand of pot plants for interior décor of office spaces and households.
- Demand for patterned plants have gone up drastically as they add more movement and life to the simple background colors of the interior walls. As per Pinterest, pins for patterned plants are up by 500%.
Worldwide trends in floriculture are rapidly changing. Netherlands has developed excess greenhouse capacity resulting in reduced demand for Dutch cut flowers. The trend away from cut flower production has resulted in a shift to flowering pot plants. In the United States, this trend developed in the 1980’s as cut flower imports expanded and flowering pot plant production also increased. Government of India has identified floriculture as a sunrise industry and accorded it 100% export oriented status. In view of exports, an exponential growth of floriculture products is being observed. The country has exported 27.14 thousand tonnes of 2012-13 and the value has been increasing since then. Apart from India, China is also in the run for pot plant exports to European nations. It’s interesting to see how the pot plant market is making a mark in the floriculture industry and how things will unfold in the near future.