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Fall 2022 Survey: How The COVID-19 Pandemic Encouraged More People to Garden

Key Takeaways:

  • In the past two years, 34.35% of respondents either took up gardening or began gardening more.
  • 77.71% of respondents revealed that if not for the pandemic, they would not have started gardening or begun gardening more.
  • 32.23% of respondents reported they garden because they wanted to be more active outside.
  • 37.06% of respondents reported taking up gardening or gardening more frequently because they were spending more time at home.

The pandemic opened up the possibility of exploring new pastimes.

During the COVID-19 pandemic, many Americans took on new hobbies.

According to a nationwide survey of 1,013 consumers conducted by LendingTree in the winter of 2021, 58% of Americans found a pastime to focus on while spending more time at home during the first year of the pandemic. The report reveals the five most popular hobbies were reading, baking or cooking, gardening, meditation, and writing. 

Our Survey

Our survey, which polled 201 respondents from the United States, focused on changes in gardening habits over the past two years. Our respondents were 51.3% female and 48.7% male. Respondents ranged in age from 18 to over 65.

Of these respondents, 18.33% reported gardening more in the past two years, and 4.94% reported taking up gardening altogether. In addition, 77.71% of respondents said that if it weren’t for the pandemic, they would not have taken up gardening. 

With more time at home, more stress, and more reasons to get outside, more Americans turned to gardening.

A graph about why respondents took up gardening during the pandemic.

When the coronavirus pandemic began, many people suddenly spent much more time at home. Plus, according to the Center for Disease Control, the changes brought on by the pandemic created stressful, overwhelming challenges for many Americans. In fact, a March 2022 survey from the American Psychological Association revealed unusually high stress levels for Americans, who, on the heels of years of handling the pandemic, are now dealing with concerns about inflation at home and war abroad. 

Between the frustrations and anxieties of a post-COVID world and the extra time spent at home, it’s no wonder many Americans took up—and continue to search for—new pastimes, including gardening. In fact, 37.06% of respondents noted that they took up gardening or gardened more frequently because they were spending more time at home. Other top reasons? To be more active outside (32.23%) and to help with their mental health (10.05%). 

For some groups, looking toward gardening for mental health relief was even more prominent. For example, 22.39% of respondents ages 18 to 24 garden to boost their mood, which is more than twice the group as a whole.

For pandemic-era gardeners, a little goes a long way

Like many other hobbies, gardening can be as casual or serious of a pastime as you’d like it to be. It’s easy to spend ten to fifteen hours weekly gardening—and it’s also easy to set up a vertical herb garden that needs to be watered or cut back only occasionally. 

Many of the respondents surveyed for this report revealed they were casual gardeners who spend less than two hours weekly gardening. 

In fact, 52.91% of respondents reported spending less than 60 minutes a week in their gardens. 21.31% reported 1 to 2 hours. And nearly half (49.64%) of respondents haven’t given much thought to whether their gardening habits will change in the future, even as more and more Americans see their lives return to normal—or rather, a new normal.

Whatever they decide, one thing is for sure. Gardening has proved a great way to spend more time outside, manage stress, and simply pass the time—especially over the past couple of years. 

Survey Methodology

This survey was performed in October 2022, using Google Surveys, with a sample size of 201 Americans aged between 18 and over 65.

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