Latest trends in gardening

What’s new and on-trend in horticulture? Michael Perry reveals some of the hot trends in horticulture

Petunia ‘Night Sky’
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What’s on-trend is a hot topic for every aspect of our lives. There’s a whole host of what’s on-trend expectations, whether it’s for the home, your lunchbox, your fitness activities.. or your garden…

Of course, trends are often not ACTUAL trends- they are merely predictions. After all, what is a trend? We all do it our own different way, and just because something has 10,000 hashtags on Twitter, that doesn’t make it a trend, does it!

In the eye of social media, perhaps it does, but what are people really out there doing. I went along to the much-acclaimed IPM trade show in Essen, Germany to find out more about up and coming trends in the world of horticulture.

Dyed flowers and why people dislike them so much

What do you think of dyed plants?

If there’s one thing that divides opinion in the gardening world (other than whether or not you should dig your garden), it’s dyed blooms. They are often seen as frivolous and ‘throw-away’ and cries of ‘plant cruelty’ are often muttered. However, is it simply a clever and innovative way to recruit newbies to the world of owning (and adoring) their own plant? The IPM show had its fair share of dyed orchids, which are not in fact spray-painted, as many people think. Rather more, each stem is injected carefully with dye, which then travels up to the flower and colours it up within 24 hours. Later blooms on your plant have not been dyed and will be the original flower colour of your plant.

Making your own outer pots for your houseplants

DIY plant pot covers made of denim

The Dutch always seem to stay ahead in terms of horticultural innovation, and it was no different at this year’s show. Just for fun, they had made up some denim outer pot covers. But, of course, there’s no reason why you couldn’t do this yourself, although you’d need to remember to use a lining, otherwise your jeans would have a really bad wet patch! The denim blue of the material worked really well with the pure white orchids they had on display. It looks like it’s time to brush up on your sewing skills.

The plants you can grow without really trying

Xerographica, is a silvery rosette of joy, and the best thing is that it doesn’t need any soil or any pot

Airplants had a rush of interest back in the 90s, but now that everyone is fawning over houseplants, they’re back with a bang and they’re bigger and better than ever. My personal favourite, the Xerographica, is a silvery rosette of joy, and the best thing is that it doesn’t need any soil or any pot. You can place it anywhere you like, even muddling it up as a table centrepiece. Just a few spritzes of water each week and it’s good to go!

Photoshopped plants?

‘Blue Zebra’ Primrose is raising a few eyebrows

Within the horticultural world, we can often be introspective, and not appreciate how outsiders (and non-gardeners) look at the gardening and plant world. Over the last few years, I’ve noticed that it’s the bright, sparkly and different plants that make those non-gardeners sit up and take notice. The poster boy for this over the last few seasons has been the love-it-or-hate-it Petunia ‘Night Sky’, which looks pretty unreal. Likewise, new ‘Blue Zebra’ Primrose is raising a few eyebrows, thanks to the shocking blue stripes, which could almost have been photo-shopped, but really they haven’t.

Making a bunch of cut flowers something that lasts much longer

Vanda orchids available a a single head

There have been a few orchids available as cut flowers over the years, but suppliers have often puzzled about how to transport and display them. The vibrant pink bunches of Dendrobium often have separate vases (vials) for each stem, which can become a bit clunky in a home vase. The newest ‘trend’ is to use the Vanda orchid, a huge showy flower head that can be displayed singly. They are promoting them in presentation packs, much like a high-end perfume! The benefits of single orchid blooms are that they last so much longer than a bunch of slightly dull carnations!

Michael Perry

About Michael Perry

Michael has been involved with gardening and plants since he was just five years old. He is a self-professed Plant Geek, and was listed in the Sunday Times top 20 most influential people in the gardening world, thanks to his plant hunter role at Thompson & Morgan. Michael was responsible for new plant introductions such as the Egg and Chips plant and the FuchsiaBerry and keeps busy travelling the world in search of new plants as well as lecturing worldwide, including stints in Japan. He is very active on social media - so why not give him a follow at @mr_plantgeek or Facebook.
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