Consumer Involvement with and Expertise in Water Conservation and Plants Affect Landscape Plant Purchases, Importance, and Enjoyment Academic Article uri icon


  • The strain on potable water supplies heightens the competition for water resources and potentially reduces the demand for outdoor plantings and landscaping. We conducted an online survey with 1543 respondents in 2016 to ascertain their water conservation and plant expertise, their involvement in water conservation and plant issues, and the importance of plants and landscaping. We also collected demographic characteristics. Cluster analysis results identified two key market segments comprising 50% of the sample each: those who are Actively Interested in Water Conservation and those who are Disinterested in Water Conservation. The Actively Interested segment was younger, had more adults and children in the household, and had a higher household income. In addition to having a higher mean score for water conservation involvement and expertise, the Actively Interested segment had a higher mean score for water conservation importance and impact, as well as plant expertise and involvement. The Actively Interested segment scored higher on select components relating to horticultural importance, including aesthetically beautiful landscapes, active landscape enjoyment, desire for a low maintenance landscape, and response in drought, compared with the Disinterested segment. The Disinterested segment scored higher on the Non-Landscape Use with no enjoyment. Findings suggest that prowater-conserving attitudes are found among consumers who value outdoor landscapes and those individuals who spend more on plants. Results suggest that producers and retailers should focus marketing and communication efforts on low water use cultivar selection and operationalizing water-conserving behaviors more than convincing consumers that plant purchases and landscaping are important.

published proceedings

  • HortScience

author list (cited authors)

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

citation count

  • 6

complete list of authors

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

publication date

  • January 2018