Saturday 19 October 2019

Millennials behind €19m 'grow your own' gardening trend, study finds

Stock photo: Getty
Stock photo: Getty
A sculpture representing same sex marriage in the garden from Bloom 2018 (Niall Carson/PA)
Laura Lynott

Laura Lynott

The under 35s have emerged as the generation behind a €19m ‘grow your own’ trend, a new study has found.

The horticultural market is booming in Ireland right ahead of the highlight of any gardener’s calendar, Bloom 2019, underway from May 30 to June 3, at Phoenix Park, Dublin.

And now thanks to savvy millennials, who want to know just where the food on their plate has come from, ‘grow your own’ has become a top trend.

According to the Bord Bia Amenity study, the fashion for buying herbs, fruit and vegetables for planting, has gone from being worth €16m in 2011 to €18m in 2016 and last year this increased to €19m, as the phenomenon becomes more popular.

Bord Bia horticulture sector manager, Carol Marks, told  “Grow your own is trendy now and it’s really about wanting to know where your food is coming from and people wanting to enjoy the taste of their own food.

“People can grow on balconies and smaller spaces too.  More buyers are definitely growing their own food and they’re buying young vegetable plants or tomato plants, rather than sewing their own seeds.

“It’s good news for the industry.”

The horticultural market in Ireland is worth €795m according to the 2018 figures, compared to €729m in 2016 and €516m in 2011.

Another major trend has seen the increase in sales of indoor potted plants.  Ms Marks credits the “Instagram” generation for this.

Millennials have been sharing their stylish living rooms, brimful of plants and using hashtags for their favourites.

Indoor plant sales have seen an 35pc increase. The market rose from €18m in 2011 to €19m in 2016 and to €25m in 2018.

“The statistics show people are treating themselves,” Ms Marks said.  “There’s been an Instagram trend for indoor potted plants, the succulent, the cacti.

“People like to have plants in their houses and apartments and that whole category was stagnant for many years but we’ve seen a huge growth and again it’s the under 35s.

“Indoor potted plants are easy to look after, they put a personality on a living space, so people can take pride in nurturing them.”

Garden products, which could include anything from bamboo to metal, accounts for the highest proportion of the market -  €367m in 2018. This section increased 8pc from €218m in 2011 to €340m in 2016 and rose again by almost €30m last year.

Landscaping service sales saw the second highest increase, rising by 18pc and showing a clear fashion in making the most of personal outdoor space.

This section of the market accounted for €146m last year, €124m in 2016 and €97m in 2011.

While fresh cut flowers, foliage and wreaths accounted for a 17pc increase in sales.  Last year this segment sold €91m compared to €78m in 2016 and €71m in 2011.

“Having a beautiful outdoor space, decorating the garden to enjoy it and sitting in the garden, is certainly proving popular,” Ms Marks said.

“Being in nature is proven to have health and mental health benefits and there are many studies into this being therapeutic.

“The overview in general is positive - to see people investing in their gardens and spaces.

“For the industry, there’s been a huge increase in people buying plants for indoors and for their gardens, so this is all good news.

“I’m really pleased to see trees, shrubs and herbivore perennials increasing (in the market), as they add so much to the garden. 

“They have structure and colour and they are such great value over a long period of time in the garden.

“The more plants we have in our gardens for pollinators the better.  Bord Bia was involved in developing the All Ireland Pollinator Plan. And we’d love to see people planting even more herbivore perennials, which are great for the bees and birds.

“And if you have trees and shrubs, these are also a great source for birds.”

According to the Bord Bia survey "decking is out" when it comes to gardening trends. 

The report states:  "The popularity of decks - which soared during the Celtic Tiger years, seems to have been replaced by the enduring alternative of paving/gravel."

€21m was spent on decking last year which had dwarfed 2011’s figure of €12m.

But paving and decorative stones’ sales far outstripped decking.  In 2018, €71m of decking was sold to the Irish market and in 2016 €64m was sold.

Ms Marks felt buyers could have felt paving and stones offered a more durable alternative to decking in the long-term.

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