R.A. Criley
The myriad of cultures around the world differ from continent to continent and within continents, regions, and even cities themselves. The cultural expectations are often aesthetics-based, but there are more reasons than just beauty for the popularity of ornamental plants. Growers and garden centers feature the new, the different, the plant breeder introductions, and the tried-and-true heritage varieties, but keeping up with change is difficult. Across America, and to a certain extent, Europe, the traditional customers are retiring and the next generation of customers is not willing to spend the time gardening that their parents did. In both the USA and Europe, increasing attention is paid to marketing and how to attract the 25- to 45-year-old customer. The market is changing from “Do It Yourself” to "Do It For Me," as the new generation, brought up on instantaneous gratification, wants it Now. In addition to the appeal of something new, the markets are promoting and sharing the knowledge of how valuable plants are in a home or workplace as stress relievers, air purifiers, environmental modifiers, health benefits, and symbols of feelings, friendship, and comfort. The support behind the commercial ornamental industries includes plant breeders and university and government researchers, but also industry organizations, marketplace gurus, psychologists, and social scientists. As cities reinvent their aging downtowns, the green industries play a huge role in enhancing the quality of life the urban dwellers experiences. Different strategies are needed for different target groups, but basic themes include "providing solutions," and contributing easy and instant applications. Growers must be able to choose among the many new plants introduced each year to produce enough plants for the demand, but they must also be ready to switch to new products when that demand weakens. Keys to this include knowing the customer better and keeping up with the trends that influence plant selection and use.
Criley, R.A. (2008). ORNAMENTALS - MORE THAN JUST BEAUTIFUL. Acta Hortic. 788, 23-28
DOI: 10.17660/ActaHortic.2008.788.1
environmental horticulture, garden history, gardening, horticulture therapy, interior plants

Acta Horticulturae