Gardeners Go Potty for Plant Pots

The Royal Horticultural Society (RHS) has reported a significant rise in demand for plant pots as the nation continues to embrace gardening as many opt for a staycation this summer. Potting compost and plants with calming colours are also among the top picks for gardeners this summer following the reopening of RHS Plant Centres.

Sales for outdoor plant pots were up 225% throughout July compared to last year across all collections of glazed and terracotta pots. With container planting offering a great solution to growing in smaller outdoor spaces, patios and balconies, pots enable gardeners to add a splash of colour and may reflect the increasing number taking up gardening and desire to enjoy their outdoor space during lockdown.
Guy Barter, Chief Horticulturist at RHS, says: “Container gardening is not only great for smaller outdoor spaces and brightening up corners but it is also very simple. You buy potting compost, pots, plants, bulbs - almost any type of plant can be grown in a container - and various sundries including fertiliser and it all works. No need to worry about digging or soil, manuring, feeding, weeding and so on, so it is perfect for those taking up gardening for the first time.”
Following the reopening of RHS Plant Centres on 13 May, plant sales including houseplants were also up 22.8% in July compared to 2019. Colour has been the key focus for customers, with calming combinations of purple, blues, whites as well as oranges being the most popular and bestselling plants have included English lavender, salvia, geums and when available roses.
Despite the growing season being nearly over, the RHS has also seen demand for compost remain higher than usual for this time of year, with sales up 85% from July 2019. 50 litre sized bags have been the most popular as gardeners keep growing. Meanwhile, sales of gardening gloves rose up to 40%, and garden supports and canes have also done well.
Tim Hollis, Head of Buying at RHS, says: “Since reopening we have seen an unprecedented demand for outdoor garden pots and in order to keep up with the demand we’ve selected new designs to ensure we are well stocked with a wide selection to meet customers’ appetite for planting in containers.
“We are delighted we’ve been able to support people to grow at home during these times of uncertainty, whether that’s in their garden, their balcony or indoors.”
Guy Barter adds: “Whilst the growing season is nearly over, for those having trouble getting hold of pots there are many household items which offer good drainage which can be used as interesting alternatives such as sawn off plastic bottles and canisters, old tires, tin cans, old washing machine spinning drums, old water tanks, wooden boxes, chests of drawers, stacked bricks and breezeblocks, and even wellington boots – the list goes on!”
The Society launches its new RHS Shop website this month, which will replace the former RHS gifts & book page, and will feature more gardening products, homeware, and home accessories than ever before.

Notes to editors

About the RHS
The Royal Horticultural Society, the world’s leading gardening charity, was founded in 1804 by Sir Joseph Banks and John Wedgwood. Our vision is to enrich everyone’s life through plants, and make the UK a greener and more beautiful place. This aspiration underpins all that we do, from inspirational gardens and shows, through our scientific research, to our education and community programmes such as Campaign for School Gardening and Britain in Bloom. We produce key publications, hold a world-class collection of horticultural books and botanical art, and sell the very best plants and gardening gifts.
The RHS is fundraising £40m to transform our gardens, outreach and education facilities, which includes redeveloping our flagship RHS Garden Wisley and opening a new garden, RHS Garden Bridgewater, in 2021. We are solely funded by our members, visitors and supporters. For more information visit
RHS Registered Charity No. 222879/SC038262

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The Royal Horticultural Society is the UK’s leading gardening charity. We aim to enrich everyone’s life through plants, and make the UK a greener and more beautiful place.