Garden Trends for 2020

While I have been perusing the never-ending supply of garden catalogs arriving daily in my mailbox, others like the staff at Garden Media (a garden communication/consulting company) have been out collecting data on the newest garden trends for 2020 and beyond. This information is compiled to help garden centers, nurseries, and garden writers become more aware of popular products, ideas, and cultural practices in the coming years.  Below are a few of the trends they expect we will see (or continue to see) starting this spring.

green stem with blueberries.
A viburnum fruit called Blue Muffin.

Greening Urban Areas – There are many benefits to plants in urban areas.  Since over half the world lives in cities, making urban areas more tranquil and plant-filled has many benefits.  Greening cities is considered a great way connect with nature, reduce storm water issues, mitigate heat island effects, and increase property values.  This means adding plants, especially urban-tolerant trees, to cities is a good investment in the future.  City planners, architects, and landscape designers are becoming more savvy on tree species that tolerate the often harsh conditions of urban environments.  

Circular Economy – This means consumers are looking for ways to minimize waste and making the most of our resources.  Biodegradable products, materials made from recycled products, reusable products, or products with a second life are becoming more popular with consumers. While we often pay more for reusable products, they last longer and help reduce waste in landfills. For gardening this might mean more biodegradable containers – or garden centers/nurseries that collect and reuse plastic containers.

Cartons of blueberries
Oregon blueberries. Gardening is a growing trend.

Green Collar Jobs – Gardening is expected to become almost a 50 billion dollar industry by 2023. This means more jobs.  While careers in horticulture, or green collar jobs, are blooming, the number of college graduates in horticulture are stagnant.  Therefore, the number of jobs in horticulture is expected to outnumber graduates 2 to 1.  Because of rising college costs, more of those needed to fill these green careers are expected to come from community colleges, vocational programs, and even baby boomers or retirees with gardening experience looking for new opportunities.

Regenerative Gardening – Garden Media says “we treat our soil like dirt.” Changes in farming, forestry, and gardening practices could help sequester carbon, rebuild soil organic matter, and reduce runoff. Home gardeners can adapt some of these same practices on a small scale with little extra effort.  Composting, no-till systems, green manures or cover/pulse crops are ways to enrich garden nutrients and rebuild soils. Good, fertile soils often reward the gardener with more productive gardens.

A plant with a black step with blue flowers
Salvia black and blue. Look for more indigo to appear in landscape designs, displays, and decor in spring and summer. 

Houseplants - Houseplants are growing in popularity.  This trend doesn’t seem to be going anywhere anytime soon!  Younger generations are growing more indoor plants for their many benefits (improved indoor air quality, reduction in stress, enhanced creativity, connection to nature, etc.).  In fact, houseplant sales are seeing a greater percentage growth than shrubs, trees, and perennials. Houseplants and succulents are important aspects of decorating interior spaces like apartments or houses.  Younger generations are also cultivating communities through social media, workshops, and plant swaps – all around houseplants.

Frogs and Fungi – What are good indicators of a healthy environment and a healthy body?  Frogs and fungi!  Look for more information on creating frog friendly habitats around home landscapes. Mushrooms might be the new superfood.  And other fungi have the potential to solve some of our most pressing world problems like degrading plastic.

Indigo – True Blue is the color of the year.  For gardeners this color is rare as only a few plants have true blue flowers or fruit.  In our quest for unique ways to brighten the landscape, look for more indigo to appear in landscape designs, displays, and décor in spring and summer. 

This is the time of year every gardener dreams of experimenting with new plants and ideas for the garden or landscape.  Maybe some of the ideas mentioned above will inspire you try some new ideas or innovative practices in your garden this year. 

Links to this article are strongly encouraged, and this article may be republished without further permission if published as written and if credit is given to the author, Horticulture and Home Pest News, and Iowa State University Extension and Outreach. If this article is to be used in any other manner, permission from the author is required. This article was originally published on January 10, 2020. The information contained within may not be the most current and accurate depending on when it is accessed.