Whether you are a newbie or an experienced gardener, look for these trends this garden season.

Jessica Ball, M.S., R.D.
March 08, 2021
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A collage of four different spring trends
Credit: Getty Images / Diane Labombarbe / Natalie Claude / Natasha Breen / Fuzullhanum

Most have us have been at home a lot over the past year, so it's no surprise that the interest in home projects has been on the rise. Specifically, gardening has taken the spotlight. In the last year, Google searches for "food and gardening" rose 29%. Maybe it's a result of people trying to spend more time outside or having more free time at home. Regardless, the love for gardening has captured mainstream attention, whether it's indoors in a tiny apartment or raised beds in a backyard. Here at EatingWell, we love bringing together plant and plate for a fresh, nutritious meal that tastes great. To get in on the action, check out these eight gardening trends we think will make it big in 2021. 

Keeping it small

Since we are still dealing with the impacts of COVID-19, taking on smaller projects may feel more attainable for people. Even though we're spending more time at home, many people don't have much more free time (or energy) for big undertakings. That said, there are ample low-maintenance ways to start gardening no matter the space or time constraints you're facing. In fact, our highest-viewed new EatingWell.com article is about this foolproof way to grow food indoors

Container gardening is a great option if you are working with a small space, and can be done indoors or outside on a porch or in a small yard space. If you do have a small yard, consider vertical gardening to maximize your space and make harvesting easy. Google searches for "how to make a vertical garden" went up 24% last year and are climbing as people look to create their perfect backyard garden. We even have this article on how to build a butternut squash trellis if you are feeling ambitious.  

Repurposing scraps

Over the last year, we've seen interest in our composting content increase 154%. In particular, our article on how to reduce food waste had 249% more views in 2020 than the previous year. There are ample ways to turn food scraps into garden treasures. You can compost your scraps to build nutritious soil that helps your plants grow healthy and strong. Also, there are plenty of vegetables you can actually grow from food scraps. From lettuce to pineapple, this is a trend worth trying this year. 

Getting social with it

Many of us have transitioned our socializing online this year. Get social with your plates, yards and social feeds this year. Social media can be a great place to share ideas, learn fun hacks and show off aesthetically pleasing food and garden accomplishments. With the emergence of new social platforms like TikTok, trends can go viral faster than ever before. From growing basil out of a box from the store to the focaccia garden trend, gardening and cooking is more fun when it can be shared. A simple edible flower can take a salad or cocktail to the next level. We anticipate people will be planning gardens with a variety of colors and heirloom vegetables to beautify their plates and yards. Gotta do it for the 'Gram! 

Checking out cannabis

As marijuana and CBD are becoming legal in more states, there is growing interest in how to grow your own cannabis plants. In fact, CBD has become mainstream for women of all ages, with 99% of millennial women and 92% of U.S. women in general having heard of CBD (47% of U.S. women reported that they have used it, too). However, there is some skepticism about how safe the supplements in the market are. As people become more curious about CBD and marijuana, they may have more interest in growing their own to save money and ensure the safety of what they are ingesting. 

Growing for health

It is no secret that health-promoting plants, flowers and vegetables have risen in popularity over the last year. There has been a 299% increase in interest for "houseplants that improve health," with growing searches for specific plants such as mint, turmeric, basil and aloe. Beyond plants that purify the air in your home, there are plenty of herbs and plants that pack benefits. You can even grow your own herbal tea varieties in containers or in your garden. Foods like elderberry, eucalyptus and more will start popping up in gardens this season for teas, tinctures and more. 

Bringing it indoors

One easy way to improve your indoor space is by adding plants. Beyond houseplants, there are plenty of fruits, vegetables and herbs that can be easily grown inside to brighten up your space. And people are eager to try this, as demonstrated by a 325% increase in views of our Container Gardening Ideas article in the last year. There are several herbs and vegetables that can be grown inside, even in the winter. Interest has also grown (22% from 2019 to 2020, to be specific) in fruit-bearing potted plants, like these citrus trees from Costco

Relaxing & innovating

As with many other products in 2020 (looking at you, toilet paper), seeds and garden supplies started selling out last year as the summer approached. We saw a 109% increase in searches for "garden seed tips" during that time. Now that the buying frenzy has slowed down, gardeners will be more likely to actually get the seeds and tools they need so they can plan rather than panic. And people who started a garden last year now have a season of experience under their belts, helping them get started with ease this year. This savviness could shift people's attention to "smart gardening." From apps that can help you control watering to automatic lights, this is a trend we expect to see as people get more comfortable with plants. In fact, 30% of women say that outdoor smart home technologies appeal to them and 34% say technology is most useful in their outdoor space.  

Preserving the harvest

When you have a successful garden, you can yield a lot of vegetables and herbs. And as anyone who's had a bumper crop of zucchini or basil knows that that it's key to be able to properly preserve and store fresh garden herbs and veggies. Over the last year, we saw a 27% increased interest in how to properly preserve your garden haul, and we expect the numbers to be consistent this year. If you find you have more than you need, another great option is to give to those in need. Connect with food banks in your area to learn about ways you can share your delicious produce with those in need.

Bottom line

Whether you are new to gardening or have seasons of experience under your belt, one or more of these trends is bound to spice up your gardening this year. From repurposing scraps to hopping on viral trends, there are plenty of ways to make gardening exciting and fun. Try out indoor container gardening or growing your own tea to switch it up. Or follow your curiosity about medicinal plants like CBD. However your garden looks this year, happy growing from the EatingWell team!