Herbs Plant Plantation Advisory Group Rhs Houseplant

Advisory Group Rhs Houseplant

I am a member of the Houseplant Advisory Group of the Royal Horticultural Society. Ever heard of this? Well, I want to change that.

Below is a guest column from Chris Moncrieff, head of horticultural relations at the Royal Horticultural Society. He explains why the advisory group was created and what it does: scroll to the bottom of this email to see a complete list of members. You can follow Chris Moncrieff on Twitter and Insta. I would like to know what you think of the Houseplant Advisory Group: leave me a comment below!

It’s fair to say that indoor plants have not been at the forefront of an internal HR discourse in recent years, but times are changing for the better. The RHS has cooperated and promoted many types of plants over the centuries since its establishment as a society in 1804. Orchids, perhaps the most famous ornamental plant of the time, held their first meeting of the RHS Orchid Committee in 1889… followed by additional advisory groups for herbaceous, tender and woody plants. A full list of HRSDC Advisory Groups is available here.

In 2019, a new advisory group focused on flowers and indoor plants was created by Sue Biggs, then managing director of RHS, who had identified the growing interest in indoor plants, and in particular the change of a younger population, as a possible new route to the enthusiasm of a new generation of plant lovers

Why has it taken houseplants over a century to get their own vote in the RHS? The answer can be found in some of the recent statistics on the sales of RHS indoor plants. Indoor plants accounted for 15% of the company’s total plant turnover in 2022. In 2023, this represents so far 28% of all asset sales, an increase of 5% compared to the previous year. The introduction of the takeover of indoor plants in 2020 caused a high attendance at RHS Wisley, resulting in a 177% increase in sales of cacti and succulents after this year’s event. Interestingly, the attention of leafy plants is starting to return to more sales of flowering plants, especially orchids. The introduction of the indoor plant studios at the Chelsea Flower Show as a continuous exhibition also demonstrates RHS’s serious interest in promoting these plants.

The new indoor plant advisory group has been formed by dedicated indoor plant professionals, including growers, retailers and journalists. (Scroll to the bottom of this email to see a full List of Committee members). They meet regularly to provide members of the RHS retail and exhibition teams with up-to-date information on changing trends and have helped guide the RHS strategy in deciding on new content for the shows and launching retail sales. They also advise on broader issues such as sustainability and in particular peat-free substrates, help guide the HRS strategy and ensure that we remain at the forefront of the houseplant sector.

The group has also created valuable new opportunities and links with producers/exhibitors and associated contacts, which will help to keep the RHS retail indoor plant range strong for years to come. Also this year, new and exciting exhibitions of indoor plants are planned at all RHS events. Houseplants offer a real beacon of hope and make the future really exciting, with new British nurseries entering the sustainable cultivation of houseplants, a real opportunity to replace expensive imports and accessibility for everyone, from the youngest children to the older generations.

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