2022 IGCA: New ways to grow

Take a tour of garden and décor trends in the Netherlands to inspire your stock.

Galvanized gray and black metal containers were extremely popular in the Netherlands during the 2022 IGCA Congress.
Photos courtesy of Drs. Bridget K. Behe and Melinda J. Knuth
Editor’s note: This article is the second in a three-part series on the IGCA Congress. Look for insights on merchandising in the final story.
The International Garden Centre Association hosted its annual Congress in the Netherlands earlier this year, where new products abounded. Read on for trends from Holland to inspire your store offerings. For more information about the organization and the Congress, please read our first article on signage, store layouts and more from the 2022 event in last month’s issue.
There was a pollinator theme at this year’s International Garden Centre Association Congress, like we are seeing in the United States. However, the retailers in Holland took it a step further and had garden insect houses, similar to native bee boxes and bird houses, available for sale.
At quite a few of the stores, hand hanging grow bags which included mixed annuals or specialty plants such as cyclamen were on display.
Dried flowers have been popular in Europe for a while, but the quantity and the design arrangement of them was impressive. Dried flower boutonnieres and bouquets are seen for sale above.
Green roof plants and displays were nearly at every store as well as plants sold in clear containers in water. Of particular interest was a groencentrum (which translates to green center in English) selling small, 10-foot glass patio greenhouse kits with customizable features seen at the far right.
A product we were first introduced to at Cultivate‘22 was also a popular new product in Holland: pickle plants!
For general home products, there were some interesting and eye-catching products including a considerable number of inflatable hot tubs on display. We were told that approximately five to 10 years ago, there was a trend where the retail garden centers in Holland started diversifying their product offerings, providing home goods and décor. Now, many of the stores that we visited were half-filled with choreographed décor as if you were walking directly into a room.
Because of the surge into home décor, Christmas has become a major holiday for Holland’s garden retail centers. We were just as surprised as this squirrel at the intensity with which the stores were decorated and how they displayed their products (already in August!)
Two main themes were present in the home décor space: African animal motifs and East Asian-themed products.
One store in particular had a series of color-blocked displays with fruit-themed containers, as seen in the red strawberry and the yellow lemon displays.
In the checkout line, a cute instant purchase item was this “beverage” sock display where the socks were packaged in coffee cups, milk cartons, and smoothie tumblers.
Many retailers merchandised plants rooted in water, and the vessels were interesting choices from wine glasses tubes to jars on wood and a glass vase on wood uplit under the glass vase.
One retailer, Abbings, featured seed bombs. They look a lot like bath bombs and are colorful but contain seeds for planting.
Lastly, very much under the sustainability theme, ELHO featured containers (branded with the ocean theme) made from waste plastic pulled from the ocean. Very unique!
Photos courtesy of Drs. Bridget K. Behe and Melinda J. Knuth
Fruit was also on display. Dried fruit and fruiting pineapple plants were quite interesting.
December 2022
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