With 2020’s unique circumstances in play, garden centers and gardeners are experiencing spring in new ways. For many people, thinking about plants, gardening and container décor are byproducts of extra time at home. To hear the latest on containers and the designs that crown them, we reached out to insiders at three IGCs. Here’s what they’re seeing at their stores — and what you may soon see at yours.
Tracy Hankwitz, General Manager: Burlington Garden Center, Burlington, Wisconsin
Located about 30 minutes south of Milwaukee, Burlington Garden Center has been known for containers and custom container designs for at least 20 years. General Manager Tracy Hankwitz reports that container demand has been high. “Containers for houseplants have been really strong all winter,” she says. “As we transition into more outdoor gardening, I think we’ll see people wanting containers that are lightweight and self-watering.”
Simplicity is a leading container trend. “People want solid colors, plain or with texture or simple geometric designs,” she says. White and charcoal gray are top picks for indoors.
Customers typically purchase plants and pots together at Burlington, where they emphasize “plant styling” and talk with customers about décor and interior design, as well as lighting and plant care.
Outdoors, Burlington follows trends such as Pantone’s Color of the Year. The team helps customers carry color through their exterior living spaces, coordinating blue pots, for example, with blues in plant material, art and other outdoor décor.
Popular container sizes vary dramatically. For houseplants, demand starts with 4-inch pots, but 6- to 8-inch are most popular. From there, it jumps to larger sizes for floor plants and exteriors.
With the emphasis on simple containers, Burlington’s team adds color, drama and diversity through plants. Combinations regularly include annuals, houseplants, perennials and shrubs.