Restless Gardening Syndrome

Restless Gardening Syndrome

by Sid Raisch

Consumers have been flooding into garden centers to soothe their case of RGS - Restless Gardening Syndrome, a craving desire for all things related to plants.

The important thing is not only that people are consuming our industry’s products and services with such vengeance. More important is WHY they are doing this. Pay attention to the reasons people are interested and focus your communications to promote these six major opportunities and you cannot go wrong.

There is a surging convergence of Six Driving Factors highlighted by response to COVID-19 which has made people stressed out greater than any time since 9-11 (and I am not overstating, and cannot understate) creating an all time high importance and value for horticulture as seen by consumers in a new and improved Lay-of-the-Land.

The Six Driving Factors contributing to Restless Gardening Syndrome.

  1. Pharm at Home – This is a long-term trend that began post the Great Recession when people began to value higher quality food in their diet whether prepared at home, in a scratch kitchen restaurant, or by subscription. Interest in farmers markets, CSA (Community Supported Agriculture) vegetable subscriptions, and foodie-ism in general reinforce that this is a long-term trend that is here to stay and now becoming a core part of the belief system and habits of consumers. Most recently the term “Urban Farmer” surfaced as a result of the COVID-19 lockdown. Fresh vegetables, organic meats, and plant-based diets are now considered to be as much a part of a healthy lifestyle as exercise.   Essential food security and safety are threatened through supermarket distribution, and consumers seek some control of their food future by gardening at home. This is the core of the essentiality of horticulture and leads support of our reason for being open for business 24/7/365 in our future.
  2. Houseplant Parenting – Now becoming a long-term trend, houseplants (and its older sister Succulent trend are going mainstream. While not exclusive to any demographic, the underlying reason for this trend is that the Millennial and Zenial population are securely embracing houseplant nurturing as a parenting experience in preparation for parenting pets and children.  COVID-19 provided a surge as consumers were limited in their shopping excursions and forced to endure inside for the earlier part of the lockdown and, of course, you need to breathe fresh plant-produced oxygen in that environment.
  3. Stay-cation – String lights and paver patios have been the leading indicators that stay-cation was well underway pre-COVID-19, even if you didn’t quite notice. What it really is though is a Stay-Safe-at-Home “Cocooning”, rather than travel where lifestyle amenities are more important than exotic destinations. Overflowing containers, lush planting beds, and maybe a touch of the tropics with exotic foliage to accent the relaxation.
  4. Work from Home – Many people were already enjoying telecommuting and now, its going mainstream. The abrupt conversion from the cubicle or corner office to the spare bedroom or den converted to home office requires a few adjustments as people adapt to working remotely, through  Zoom fatigue, and then seek the High Tech/High Touch escape into their own spaces.
  5. Workout at Home – Convenience and absence of other people's body fluids meet connectivity with training for fitness right at home. Take it outdoors with a gorgeous window view or go right outdoors on a yoga deck, or chin-up bar, and the act of gardening itself.
  6. Escape at Home – This is a close partner to Stay-cation and distinctly different. Sensory gardens, Zen spaces, Labyrinths, a hot tub and other amenities bring the mental and physical break right to home. Making the break from workday to after work can be marked with these escape activities and more.

Everything about what we do is IN – What are we going to do about it?

Prepare for this all-time-high to last and prepare to reap the rewards of the perceived value consumers are placing on experiencing the products and services of our industry like never seen before. 

Luck is When Preparation Meets Opportunity – PREPARE NOW

Promote like never before to take advantage of this window of opportunity and to keep it going.

Focus on the REASONS people are already interested!

Avoid promoting in ways that erode value and discount. People want to buy. Remind them why they want plants and where to get them.

Raise Your Bar and Make it Happen!


Get Help!

Click HERE to Pick a Time to Talk With Sid, or Text or call 937-302-0423 now while you’re in the mood to Raise the Bar.

Sid Raisch
Cell: 937-302-0423
[email protected]

Sid Raisch is a leading consultant for business growth, change, and results throughout the US for over 40 years.  He is a consultant to The Garden Center Group and has helped transform both national and local businesses in horticulture into valuable assets with programs that create change in culture, community and company.


REMEMBER: Your interaction (by phone and email) with Group Service Providers such as Sid Raisch, Steve Bailey, Robert Hendrickson, Jean Seawright, and John Kennedy are included in your retainer!

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