I’ve been really honoured to spend four days at the Flower Trials, where the breeding houses open up and give attendees the chance to see new plants and new ways to use them. From plant labels featuring comforting affirmations by breeder Danziger, to fondle-worthy celosia, by Hem Genetics, my senses were overwhelmed with the variety on display!
The Flower Trials is the inspirational event where ‘plants meet people’. It was really nice to talk to the salespeople, but also for the salespeople to talk to buyers and have that real, in-person connection that many have been unable to experience in the past two years. Attendees were able to see and even feel the plants for the first time since the pandemic begun – and while the virtual show was innovative, it’s not a substitute for real life!
And I see my role as giving home gardeners a sneaky peek into this wonderful world of plants
My Instagram page is full of posts about the Flower Trials, as I filmed two Reels each day:
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In addition, we launched the Fantasy Plant League here on mrplantgeek.com, where real home gardeners had the chance to vote on the best of the items show at the Flower Trials 2022 trade event… a unique opportunity for all!
The winners have now been picked, and they’ve been announced right here!
Now, back to trends – there were so many things to report back on from the Flower Trials, but I have filtered my pix, sifted my notes, and here are my TOP SIX trends!
Hide the ground, fill the pot!
These are plants where customers can actually work out how many plants they need for a certain area, which makes them more cost effective. They can cover the ground by filling gaps quicker and easier, they can beat the weeds (to some degree), but they can also potentailly be an alternative to a lawn, such as with the mini dianthus. As you might know, lawns are getting a bad reputation as they’re not ideal for pollinators, whereas plants like ground cover carnations and thyme answer the durability and wildlife need quite well.
The reimagining of the 80s
These are plants that were popular in the 80s – ones that I even remember from my childhood, having grown many of them alongside my grandma. Many people will recognise these plants, but they’re not as they once were! They’ve been adapted by breeders, redeveloped to be stronger, and in some cases, rebranded for a new generation to enjoy.
Waterless gardening for all
It makes environmental sense to use less water when gardening, so how about a range of plants that can tolerate drought conditions? From succulents to durable plants like Cape daisies, there were plenty of options for cost-effective growing, both for the grower and the gardener.
Cottagecore and the wild effect!
I’ve talked about cottagecore before on this website, and why it’s such a great theme for a garden! Cottagecore gardens can contain more free-form plants – in this sense, breeders don’t have to grow compact plants to stay toooo neat and tidy.
Consumers of cottagecore are looking for plants that are wistful and giving off an informal cottage vibe! This style also naturally encompasses plants for wildlife, and includes quite a few annuals from Bidens to Begonia, which are all pollinator friendly!
Made for containers
These are plants that really suit container use, which is the way in which many consumers are growing plants these days. They’re not just your simple patio plants – these plants can be used to dress balconies, in-between gardens (window boxes!), and also outdoor tabletop plants, which I believe is an untapped market.
Tabletop planting is something which is done very well in Germany, one of the countries in which the Flower Trials are held; however, I don’t see a lot of emphasis on this in the UK, so it’s something I’d love to see more of!
Also here we see perennials, such as the foxglove, which are now in a shorter form, well suited to the patio.
Unapologetic colour and brightness
I’ve written recently about the incredible fluoro-garden trend at the RHS Chelsea Flower Show 2022, and I’m still enthralled by this aesthetic! It’s all about celebrating colours and being unapologetic about the colours we use.
I’ve been super inspired by colour on my trip to Spain, where they have the gorgeous purple Jacaranda, the brightness of orange and purple bougainvillea, and sooo many other colourful plants – they’re not ashamed about bringing colour into their lives!
This section also includes some metallic-leaved plants, which are boosting the explosions of colour for all of us!
AND…. there was one plant from the week that really stood out for me, and it was the double flowered alstroemeria, coming from Hilverda Florist.
It was absolutely stunning, just a cut flower for now, but I’m hoping to twist their arm to allow gardeners to grow this jaw dropping beauty as well!!
If you’re involved in the horticultural trade and want to attend the 2023 Flower Trials, I highly recommend it.
Find out more at flowertrials.com
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. You can also listen to The Plant Based Podcast with Michael and co-host Ellen-Mary on iTunes, Spotify and Google.