Hard-to-find plants as landscapers prepare for the busy spring ahead

BATON ROUGE – The landscaping industry experienced a major boom after COVID-19 hit while many people were at home, growing the market size by 4.9% in 2020, doubling the rate of typical annual growth.

Even though things are getting back to normal, local landscaping services are still expecting increases this spring, but with that surge in demand comes some weeds as well.

King Lawn and Landscape owner Joseph King is busy pulling weeds and blowing leaves to prepare for their busiest season.

“I bought two more trucks over the winter,” King said. “I hired more guys than necessary to try to recruit staff and really prepare for the rush.”

Bthe business is already growing.

“We’re getting a lot of calls already,” King said. “We’re already averaging like two calls a day and expect it to go even higher.”

While the pandemic may have increased demand over the past two years, COVID-19 is now causing thorns in the industry.

“One thing we use a lot is steel edging,” King said. “Since COVID the price has doubled…So we had to go in and kind of change what we had set for it.”

The price increase is not the only change.

“It puts a cramp on all the designers because the availability list is very thin these days,” said King Lawn and landscape architect Tim Bullion. “I’m limited with the plants I can put in the landscape.”

Even a popular Baton Rouge factory is limited.

A lot of people want it to be simple,” Bullion said. “That’s what you see around Baton Rouge, it’s just the boxwood all over the front.”

Common plants like Boxwood, Distylium, Foxtail Ferns and Sun Ligustrum may not grow in your gardens this spring due to high demand.

“I did several designs and couldn’t get the plants, so I had to make some changes to the plants,” Bullion said.

However, there are popular plants available.

“Very soon people will be able to start planting warm season annuals again: vincas, there are marigolds that have come out, Angelonia,” King said.

“It’s nice to drive at the end of a long day and you have a nice place to come home to and it puts you in a good mood, you just enjoy it,” Bullion said.