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Instructors Mike Fedison and Dana Nading pride themselves in not only teaching their students in Pickens Technical College’s Urban Horticulture and Landscape Management (UHLM) program their extensive knowledge of urban horticulture, nursery management, and landscaping but also connecting their students to rising industry players in the Front Range. The UHLM program funnels students into the growing urban horticulture arena in Colorado, where horticulturalists are constantly looking for improved ways to conserve energy and find new ways of producing food for a growing population. 

Colorado nurseries and other plant and landscaping businesses are becoming more numerous and successful all the time. An infusion of talent from places like Pickens is part of this rising renaissance in the Front Range. What are nurseries and similar businesses doing in 2020 to keep up with the changing nature of their clientele and their environment?

Hot Plant Trends in 2020

Nursery owners are adjusting to many competing factors throughout the state and the country as they adapt to a changing client base with new needs. Let’s take a look at what nurseries are seeing as emerging trends in 2020:

Native Plants

Plant buyers are realizing they can usually find native versions of their most coveted plants at local nurseries that tend to grow better than non-native plants. Buyers are also increasingly aware of the ecological impact non-native and invasive plant species can have. Customers are opting more and more for native plants they know will thrive in their local green spaces. 

Wildlife and ‘Re-Wilding’

Private and commercial gardeners and landscapers have also found that the more accommodating they can be to the wildlife living in their area, the more successful their gardens and green spaces will be. I’m not talking about deer and bears. Insects, especially bees, are excellent pollinators who can help ward off damaging pests and help maintain a beautiful growing space. Nurseries are selling more plants than ever that serve only to make gardens and lawns a better place to be for friendly insects. The concept of ‘re-wilding’ goes along with this aesthetic, letting gardeners take a step back from controlling everything about their gardens, staying away from pesticides and over-pruning to create a more natural landscape.

Landscaping for Natural Disasters

Colorado doesn’t get the hurricanes and earthquakes that many other cities in the US have to deal with, but it’s not without its own risk of natural disasters, which gardeners and horticulturalists are paying attention to with their choice of plants. Instead of trying to add large trees next to buildings, for example, landscapers and planners are opting for plants that won’t do as much damage if their branches break or a tornado uproots them. A looming potential environmental risk in Colorado is severe drought, so many plant customers are leaving their thirsty plants for more drought-resistant species. 

If you’re interested in beginning your journey as a professional horticulturist or landscaper at Pickens, you’re in a position to contribute to a new way of thinking about green spaces in Colorado and be a part of this exciting and changing industry.