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Indoors or Outdoors, Horticulture and Holidays Go Together

Posted by Jodi Halvorson, USDA NASS Public Affairs Specialist in Research and Science
Dec 21, 2020
Horticulture map 2019
Horticulture in the United States remained strong at $13.8 billion in sales in 2019. California continues to lead in production due to a variety of factors, one of which is the ability to grow year round.

With the holiday season upon us, you may have missed the recent release of the 2019 Census of Horticultural Specialties Report. This 2017 Census of Agriculture special study is the only source of detailed production and sales data for floriculture, nursery, and specialty crops for the entire United States. Although the number of horticulture operations declined 11% from the last horticulture census, producers maintained sales of nearly $13.8 billion. As we thank producers for all the warmth and nourishment they provide, especially this time of year, we remember the many joys horticulture brings into our lives, too. Whether bringing a tree or poinsettia into our home, or placing a living wreath on our door or table this year, we are grateful to our growers.

Many of us will bring a holiday tree into our home this year, bringing the outdoors inside to celebrate the season. According to the Census of Horticultural Specialties Report, cultivated trees numbered well over 118 million in 2019. Leading varieties included Fraser, Noble, and Douglas Firs. For those who desire the vibrant joy of poinsettias, production of this ancient medicinal Aztec plant is thriving. Data show 1,193 farms produced 46.7 million poinsettias last year, with California and North Carolina leading in the number of plants grown.

Simple traditions like a holiday tree or driving around town looking at lights are often the magic of the season. Is it time to incorporate a new tradition? How about placing a colorful wreath of protea flowers on your door? Flower producers grew 5.3 million protea stems and reported $5.5 million in sales in the United States last year, an increase of 36% from the last horticulture census. Protea wreaths come in an array of colors readily available for some holiday cheer. Alternatively, place an artful arrangement of cacti and succulents next to your holiday candles. In 2019, 18.1 million cacti and succulent plants sold were valued at $78.6 million. Resilient and beautifully complex, cacti and succulents are a fitting plant for the season.

Lush protea
Originally from South Africa, the lush protea makes delightful addition to bouquets or holiday wreaths. Protea grow only in California and Hawaii in the United States, with 67 operations producing in 2019.

It’s safe to say, whether indoors or outdoors, horticulture and holidays go together. Want to know more? Explore the 2019 Census of Horticultural Specialties report and highlights by visiting

Category/Topic: Research and Science
Tags: NASS