Growers’ crop line-ups remained by and large similar to last year, with the most significant increase in production appearing in finished produce, up 4% from last year, and decrease in potted flowering plants, down to 38% from 44%. About 13% of growers last year projected that finished produce would be the crop that they increased production of the most. Annuals/bedding color is still being grown by the majority of growers, with perennials following very closely behind.

Back in 2011, 57% of growers planned to produce more vegetable plants, and that increase continued in 2014 with 43% of growers, as edibles gardening continued to rise, but we’re not seeing as big of increases as of late. Grow-your-own is still popular, as shown by the 60% of growers who are still producing edible crop transplants, but they seem to have worked out how much supply they need for their local demand. This was the first year we asked about cannabis production, and 1% of growers have reported adding it.

As we had seen an increase in direct-to-consumer sales and predicted continued growth in the area, we gave respondents more specific options to determine who exactly their major customers were. Direct-to-consumer retail sales ended up being one of the most significant increases we saw in this year’s State of the Industry Report compared to 2015, with fewer growers reporting selling to independent garden centers. Overall, 66% of growers said that one or more direct-to-consumer channels were their biggest customers. Leslie Halleck shares why she thinks that is in “Leslie's Take” below.

The majority of growers are still incorporating sustainable practices and equipment into their production. This year, 67% of respondents reported doing so.