Special Report

Love Gardening? These Cities Are for You

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While gardening has always been a popular hobby, the ongoing pandemic has spurred massive growth in the gardening industry, benefiting enterprises like plant nurseries, garden supply stores, and seed companies. 

Factors including grocery shortages, the rising cost of goods, the fact of being stuck at home during lockdowns, and the need for stress-relieving activities have all encouraged many home gardeners to spend more time planting vegetables and flowers. In addition, younger people who’d never gardened before tried it for the first time during the pandemic. (Gardening can be good exercise, too. These are the 50 most physically active cities in America.)

Those living in rural or suburban areas are more likely to have space to plant gardens, but urban gardeners can find room to grow things as well by joining community gardens or planting in yards or in containers on stoops, balconies, rooftops, fire escapes, even windowsills. 

Depending on climate and amenities, though, some cities are more conducive to gardening than others. To identify the 30 best cities for urban gardening in 2022, 24/7 Tempo reviewed a ranking created by LawnStarter, a lawn-care start-up that conducts research into city and state amenities. 

Drawing on data from Almanac, the American Community Gardening Association, National Garden Clubs, Inc., the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, the U.S. Department of Agriculture, and Yelp, LawnStarter ranked 196 of the largest American cities across 13 metrics, differently weighted, in four key categories: gardening space (measuring both average yard size and number of community gardens per 100,000 residents), supplies (nurseries, garden supply stores, etc.), climate (length of growing season and other factors), and community (number of gardening clubs and groups, among other factors).

Click here to see the best cities for urban gardening

Most of the best cities for urban gardening, not surprisingly, are in the South and West, where the climate is milder and the growing season is longer. Four each are in Georgia and Tennessee, where cities scored highly in categories that ranked gardening communities and access to public and private gardening space. (Those who want greenery but don’t have room to garden even on a small scale might want to visit one of America’s largest city parks.)

Northern outliers include New York City, Cincinnati, and Worcester, Massachusetts – all of which have particularly good access to gardening space. St. Louis scored best overall, capturing the top spot in the ranking for garden space, and also ranking highly for access to gardening supplies and community.

Source: Sean Pavone / iStock via Getty Images

30. Durham, NC
> Overall score: 28.17
> Gardening space: 20th out of 196
> Supplies: 156th out of 196
> Climate: 119th out of 196
> Community: 32nd out of 196

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29. Fort Lauderdale, FL
> Overall score: 28.51
> Gardening space: 135th out of 196
> Supplies: 7th out of 196
> Climate: 2nd out of 196
> Community: 62nd out of 196

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28. Birmingham, AL
> Overall score: 28.57
> Gardening space: 28th out of 196
> Supplies: 95th out of 196
> Climate: 74th out of 196
> Community: 27th out of 196

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27. Jackson, MS
> Overall score: 28.58
> Gardening space: 10th out of 196
> Supplies: 173rd out of 196
> Climate: 72nd out of 196
> Community: 179th out of 196

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26. Fayetteville, NC
> Overall score: 28.87
> Gardening space: 26th out of 196
> Supplies: 159th out of 196
> Climate: 111th out of 196
> Community: 21st out of 196

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25. Escondido, CA
> Overall score: 29.45
> Gardening space: 81st out of 196
> Supplies: 17th out of 196
> Climate: 41st out of 196
> Community: 28th out of 196

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24. Alexandria, VA
> Overall score: 30.14
> Gardening space: 85th out of 196
> Supplies: 11th out of 196
> Climate: 86th out of 196
> Community: 12th out of 196

23. Virginia Beach, VA
> Overall score: 30.37
> Gardening space: 100th out of 196
> Supplies: 17th out of 1967
> Climate: 54th out of 196
> Community: 4th out of 196

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22. Little Rock, AR
> Overall score: 30.44
> Gardening space: 70th out of 196
> Supplies: 151st out of 196
> Climate: 56th out of 196
> Community: 7th out of 196

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21. Worcester, MA
> Overall score: 30.91
> Gardening space: 9th out of 196
> Supplies: 82nd out of 196
> Climate: 152nd out of 196
> Community: 67th out of 196

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20. New York, NY
> Overall score: 30.97
> Gardening space: 25th out of 196
> Supplies: 86th out of 196
> Climate: 65th out of 196
> Community: 18th out of 196

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19. Orlando, FL
> Overall score: 31.05
> Gardening space: 80th out of 196
> Supplies: 26th out of 196
> Climate: 9th out of 196
> Community: 16th out of 196

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18. Santa Rosa, CA
> Overall score: 31.33
> Gardening space: 63rd out of 196
> Supplies: 9th out of 196
> Climate: 52nd out of 196
> Community: 15th out of 196

17. Chattanooga, TN
> Overall score: 31.81
> Gardening space: 11th out of 196
> Supplies: 149th out of 196
> Climate: 108th out of 196
> Community: 43rd out of 196

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16. Savannah, GA
> Overall score: 31.88
> Gardening space: 30th out of 196
> Supplies: 129th out of 196
> Climate: 64th out of 196
> Community: 9th out of 196

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15. Richmond, VA
> Overall score: 32.22
> Gardening space: 23rd out of 196
> Supplies: 70th out of 196
> Climate: 91st out of 196
> Community: 11th out of 196

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14. Murfreesboro, TN
> Overall score: 32.6
> Gardening space: 12th out of 196
> Supplies: 101st out of 196
> Climate: 145th out of 196
> Community: 26th out of 196

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13. Knoxville, TN
> Overall score: 33.21
> Gardening space: 21st out of 196
> Supplies: 80th out of 196
> Climate: 94th out of 196
> Community: 8th out of 196

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12. Mobile, AL
> Overall score: 33.7
> Gardening space: 6th out of 196
> Supplies: 14th out of 1965
> Climate: 43rd out of 196
> Community: 116th out of 196

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11. Clarksville, TN
> Overall score: 34.83
> Gardening space: 7th out of 196
> Supplies: 170th out of 196
> Climate: 130th out of 196
> Community: 38th out of 196

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10. Salem, OR
> Overall score: 34.91
> Gardening space: 36th out of 196
> Supplies: 10th out of 196
> Climate: 156th out of 196
> Community: 3rd out of 196

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9. Augusta, GA
> Overall score: 35.49
> Gardening space: 14th out of 196
> Supplies: 193rd out of 196
> Climate: 71th out of 196
> Community: 6th out of 196

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8. Baton Rouge, LA
> Overall score: 35.96
> Gardening space: 3rd out of 196
> Supplies: 77th out of 196
> Climate: 55th out of 196
> Community: 90th out of 196

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7. Winston-Salem, NC
> Overall score: 37.67
> Gardening space: 13th out of 196
> Supplies: 127th out of 196
> Climate: 93rd out of 196
> Community: 1st out of 196

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6. Miami, FL
> Overall score: 37.84
> Gardening space: 120th out of 196
> Supplies: 1st out of 196
> Climate: 1 out of 196
> Community: 37th out of 196

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5. Salt Lake City, UT
> Overall score: 38.28
> Gardening space: 5th out of 196
> Supplies: 72nd out of 196
> Climate: 172nd out of 196
> Community: 10th out of 196

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4. Macon, GA
> Overall score: 38.53
> Gardening space: 4th out of 196
> Supplies: 186th out of 196
> Climate: 105th out of 196
> Community: 19th out of 196

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3. Atlanta, GA
> Overall score: 39.34
> Gardening space: 2nd out of 196
> Supplies: 63rd out of 196
> Climate: 58th out of 196
> Community: 49th out of 196

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2. Cincinnati, OH
> Overall score: 43.46
> Gardening space: 8th out of 196
> Supplies: 22nd out of 196
> Climate: 148th out of 196
> Community: 2nd out of 196

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1. St. Louis, MO
> Overall score: 47.48
> Gardening space: 1st out of 196
> Supplies: 15th out of 196
> Climate: 146th out of 196
> Community: 20th out of 196

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