Australians bought more plants than ever in 2020 with COVID-19 lockdowns fuelling sales
Australians bought more plants than ever last year, with the country spending $2.6 billion on more than 2 billion plants.Key points:The horticulture industry employs more than 23,000 people across more than 1,600 businessesSales from production nurseries into retail garden centres grew 10 per cent last yearA separate trend report shows respondents intend to keep growing their […]

Australians bought more plants than ever last year, with the country spending $2.6 billion on more than 2 billion plants.

Key points:The horticulture industry employs more than 23,000 people across more than 1,600 businessesSales from production nurseries into retail garden centres grew 10 per cent last yearA separate trend report shows respondents intend to keep growing their own edible and indoor plants

People stuck at home in 2020 during the first wave of COVID-19 restrictions unsurprisingly accounted for a significant portion of growth, with indoor plant sales rising nine per cent. 

After joining toilet paper and pasta on the list of panic-buying items at the start of the pandemic, sales of herb and vegetable plants shot up 27 per cent.

More broadly, sales from production nurseries into retail garden centres grew 10 per cent, according to new figures from the Nursery Industry Statistics survey.

Overall, the report found a $200 million increase in sales in the 2019-20 financial year. 

The $2.6 billion total spend on plants also included government and public works projects.

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A family transforms their backyard lawn into a productive garden during lockdown.(Gardening Australia)

With many Australians expected to continue working from home in some capacity over the coming years, the trend is not expected to reverse any time soon.

A separate recent trend report by Plant Life Balance showed an overwhelming percentage of survey respondents intend to keep growing their own edible and indoor plants into 2021 and beyond.

Plant industry confident in its futureA variety of rare indoor plants in a backyard greenhouse, some propagated to sell.(

Supplied: Neva Hosking

)

The data from Greenlife, compiled after interviewing almost 300 production nurseries, showed it was not just COVID-19 restrictions sending more people into their gardens that was driving the boom.

Strong global and local demand for horticulture has meant three straight years of growth mainly in trees, perennials and shrubs. 

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Greenlife Industry Australia chief executive Peter Vaughan said despite drought, water restrictions, fires and cyclones, the industry was already on a increasing trajectory with three straight years of growth.

"This growth was turbocharged as a result of COVID-19 restrictions causing homeowners to prioritise the liveability of their homes" Mr Vaughan said. 

Mr Vaughan praised the ability of production nurseries to meet demand, and said the findings demonstrated the importance of the industry to the agriculture sector and the broader national economy.

The Australian horticulture industry employs more than 23,000 people in Australia across more than 1,600 businesses.

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