Consumer Perceptions of Landscape Plant Production Water Sources and Uses in the Landscape during Perceived and Real Drought Academic Article uri icon


  • Water is becoming scarcer as world population increases and will be allocated among competing uses. Some of that water will go toward sustaining human life, but some will be needed to install and support landscape plants. Thus, future water resource availability may literally change the American landscape. Recent research suggests that consumers attitudes and behavior toward potable water supplies have changed in other countries because of greater social awareness and increasingly widespread exposure to drought conditions. We conducted an online survey of 1543 U.S. consumers to assess their perceptions about landscape plants, the water source used to produce them, and plant water needs to become established in the landscape. Using two separate conjoint designs, we assessed their perceptions of both herbaceous and woody perennials. Consumers placed greater relative importance on water source in production over water use in the landscape for both herbaceous and woody perennials included in this study. They preferred (had a higher utility score for) fresh water over recycled water and least preferred a blend of fresh with recycled water for perennials and recycled water used for woody perennial production. In addition, the group that did not perceive a drought but experienced one placed a higher value (higher utility score) on nursery plants grown with fresh water compared with those which were actually not in drought and did not perceive one. Educational and promotional efforts may improve the perception of recycled water to increase the utility of that resource. Promoting the benefits of low water use plants in the landscape may also facilitate plant sales in times of adequate and low water periods.

published proceedings


altmetric score

  • 36.08

author list (cited authors)

  • Knuth, M., Behe, B. K., Hall, C. R., Huddleston, P., & Fernandez, R. T.

citation count

  • 6

complete list of authors

  • Knuth, Melinda||Behe, Bridget K||Hall, Charles R||Huddleston, Patricia||Fernandez, R Thomas

publication date

  • February 2018