Edibles and ornamentals are trending hot
By Dan Vierria
Fads are fleeting. Remember steampunk, planking, selfie sticks, the ice bucket challenge and the Macarena? Social media platforms and marketing staffs predict and inflate fads. Eventually, the air escapes and we read about the next must-have product.
Gardening has fads, often called trends. By definition, a fad arrives overnight and quickly disappears. Trends gradually evolve and may (or not) endure. Both are lumped into one category when predicting the most popular colors, plants and design choices for gardens and outdoor living areas.
Garden Media Group, an influential public relations and marketing firm, releases an annual trend report. For 2022, it predicts growth in seed starting, container gardening and “organic and natural products.” Beginning gardening tools will be hot sellers, along with vegetable and herb gardening and the creation of outdoor “escape areas.”
Similar to other trend reports, GMG predicts edible gardening will continue to gain strength with flower gardening to help ease our anxiety about food prices and pandemic chaos.
National gardening predictions may be fun to peruse, but gardening is local. In Sacramento, we have our own unique “trendy fads” and tastes. We know what we like and so do our local nurseries that buy and stock based on your requests and buying habits. What are our neighbors buying from local nurseries?
Julia Oldfield, co-owner of Big Oak Nursery in Elk Grove, says edibles continue in high demand. Inflation has intensified interest.
“Prices of groceries and food insecurity are the reasons,” she says. “Every year groceries get more expensive. We are selling a lot of bare-root fruit trees, blueberries, figs. Staples, like tomatoes, peppers and eggplant, are the most popular summer choices.”
Oldfield cites the “stay-at-home” movement for a bump in ornamentals.
“They want their home to look good and increase in value. We have had lots of customers who are re-landscaping their entire yards.”
Because more folks work at home, succulents and houseplants are favorites, according to Oldfield. “It looks nice with a houseplant in the background during your Zoom meeting.”
“When you think Talini’s, you think tomatoes,” says Kevin Johnson, a nursery manager at Talini’s Nursery & Garden Center in East Sacramento. “We have all the tomato varieties, heirlooms and hybrids. We expect to sell lots of peppers and herbs, too.”
Jill Franklin, Talini’s general manager and buyer, constantly orders seed packets and cites herbs, vegetables, perennials, pottery and bagged soil amendments as hot sellers.
Citrus trees are in demand at Talini’s, but stocking them is a challenge.
“There are not a lot of citrus trees out there, for some reason,” Franklin says. “Some growers seemed to sell out of everything.”
According to Johnson, Talini’s customers don’t seem too concerned about drought-tolerant varieties, but will take home “anything with color.” Drought-tolerant purchases are mostly succulents.
“Succulents are increasing in popularity,” Johnson says. “Not only are they drought-efficient, but they are easy to grow and maintain and that makes them a hit with getting kids involved.”
Quentyn Young, nursery manager at Fair Oaks Boulevard Nursery, says his customers have fallen in love with houseplants and anything edible, especially vegetables and fruit trees.
“Everybody wants their home and home office to feel inviting and houseplants also help clean the air,” Young says. “Instagram really pushes the popularity of certain houseplant varieties.”
Fruit trees and other edibles, especially vegetables, became even bigger sellers during the pandemic, he says. “People learned how easy it is to grow food the last two years.”
Pottery and garden art are neighborhood favorites, too.
“Garden art is selling well because it makes people happy to see their outside space reflect their personal vibe,” Young says.
Customers ask for milkweed, the host plant for monarch butterfly egg-laying, pollinator seed mixes and drought-tolerant plants at Fair Oaks Boulevard Nursery.
“The average gardener knows we will always have water issues going forward,” Young says.
Dan Vierria is a University of California Cooperative Extension Master Gardener for Sacramento County. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. For answers to gardening questions, contact the UCCE Master Gardeners at (916) 876-5338, email email@example.com or visit sacmg.ucanr.edu. Follow us on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram: @insidesacramento.