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GardenSMART :: 5 Trends Influencing the Gardening World in 2018

5 Trends Influencing the Gardening World in 2018

By Kate Karam, Monrovia
Photographs courtesy of Monrovia

What to watch in 2018?

Pitch perfect pines, garden tribalism, and the impact of soil regeneration science on the home garden, and the cementing of hydrangeamania are just some of the top gardening trends for 2018.

This year, the garden will be a both a haven and a laboratory as gardeners seek a respite from a stressful world, and also dive into the flood of new plant choices they're seeing in garden centers and on social media. We're also seeing more interest in flowering shrubs as time-crunched gardeners seek to simplify, and while we're still seeing lots of color (especially ice cream hues), patterned foliage is the story for 2018.

Gardening has always been popular, of course, but last year saw a surge of newbies, with an estimated six million more people nationwide taking up the activity. Eighty percent of those are millennials (ages 18 to 34), according to a National Gardening Survey. We're seeing this new dynamic play out in unequaled demand for unique, sustainable, and social share-worthy plants and for gardening as a differentiator of sorts. It looks to be an interesting year!

Here are five trends to watch. Click over to Grow Beautifully, our fabulous blog, to see all eight we are forecasting. And let us know if you agree (or disagree!)

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Roses and Rhodies Renaissance: It's back to the future as the lure of Insta-worthy posies, year-round beauty, container compatibility, and tales of low-effort/big rewards are making gardeners take a second look at old timey shrubs in general, and the next wave of fuss-free roses and rhododendrons (the "it" flower of the UK last year) in particular.

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Soil Matters: Collectively, home gardeners manage a great deal of land, perhaps as much as commercial farmers, and are poised to be a critical part of the solution to the urgent environmental issues of soil degradation and carbon capture. Expect to see programs promoting the application of commercial agriculture principles of "soil regeneration" in the home garden.

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Pitch Perfect Pines: After years of being overshadowed by boxwoods and birches, this compelling conifer is on the comeback trail, with a starring role at 2017's Chelsea Flower Show. Notably fuss-free problem solvers which also offer a distinct personality in the landscape, pines feel fresh and wow-worthy. A new generation of gardeners will use them in inspiring ways.

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Suburban Plant Hunters: First comes a garden, then comes a garden that no one else has! From heritage fruit trees and "who-knew" annuals, to (always sold out) Itoh peonies and complex topiary, savvy garden-makers are foraging far and wide for the goods to make a landscape that's bespoke, not cookie-cutter. Look for growers to respond with rare and limited quantity offerings.

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Hydrangeamania: Everyone's much-loved bloomer will cement its "must have" status as the plant of the decade in 2018 with a slew of new varieties that solve lots of consumer woes. Breeders have built a better hydrangea - reblooming, right-sized for pots, simpler to prune, with sturdier stems that don't flop under the weight of large flower heads, and thicker leaves that are more tolerant of heat, humidity, and wind. We grow them, and even we're surprised by how fast gardeners are snapping them up.

For much more about gardening, plants, solutions, and ideas, visit our popular blog, Grow Beautifully. While you're there, be sure to sign up for our award-winning monthly newsletter, Plant Savvy.


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