Hottest Plant Trends of 2014
What a year for gardening! Cool temps and decent rainfall made 2014 an incredible year for planting and landscaping. This year we have enjoyed helping novice and experienced gardeners and in the process have picked up on some important trends in gardening. In gardening "trends" can be a negative. There can be a bit of a catch 22 when it comes to new horticulture introductions. Highly advertised "new varieties" rushed to market can occasionally result in low quality or poorly performing plants. But this year growers hit it out of the ball park with new varieties and improved classics that merge performance and interest.
It's been thrilling to watch new plant introductions thrive in the local environment, the growth of independent, unique brands (Horte Couture, for example) and the uptick in customer interest in the rare and unusual. For us, what made 2014 stand out was the focus on quality, locally grown plants.
We've taken notice and have put together a list of the most popular and hottest trending plants of the year. AND with fall's continued forecast of mild temps and moisture, if you haven't already jumped on these great trees, shrubs and perennials, there is still time to add these varieties to your landscaping. Take a look below.
Boxwood: Boxwood are a great example of a classic performer with a modern touch. Perfect for hedges and topiaries, boxwood's revived popularity are in some part due to the "Restoration Hardware" aesthetic sweeping the nation. They are the plant of choice for replacing dated landscaping. (1980 is calling, overgrown yew hedges!) But what makes this trend particularly nice is the performance aspect of boxwood. Boxwood are evergreen and retain their color throughout the winter. Most importantly, they are versatile. There are many different varieties to choose from, including Green Mountain, Green Velvet and Chicagoland Green all of which offer different sizes and shapes. There will be no problem finding the right boxwood for you and your yard!
Bobo Hydrangea: The proliferation of hydrangea varieties continues! The new Bobo, a gorgeous dwarf variety, is smaller and improved version of the Limelight Hydrangea, and we love it. Small. Great Blooms. Sturdy Stems. And it can take sun or shade. This little stunner has it all. Reaching only 3 feet tall, this little plant nonetheless explodes with bunches of creamy, white flowers during the summer, which may fade to blush with pink hue in the fall. Great for hydrangea lovers with limited space.
Dark Horse Weigela: Katy Perry ain't got nothing on this gorgeous addition to the Weigela family! Striking dark purple foliage, combined with magenta tubular (Hummingbirds love them!) flowers, makes this Weigela a “Roar”ingly good choice for gardeners who like the unusual. Reaching 3 feet tall and wide, this is a great shrub for compact areas. This shrub is the solution for homeowners that want COLOR, instead of just green. And again, we like it because of its hardiness, low maintenance performance.
Allium Millennium: Allium Millennium is an ornamental onion of the highest caliber. 2” rosy purple flower ball clusters bloom above glossy, thick, dark green leaves in mid to late summer. These allium top out at 12" tall and would look great along a walk or the front edges of a perennial bed. This easy to grow, upright and compact ornamental onion is as impressive as the dawning of a new “Millennium”: Drought tolerant, salt tolerant, heat tolerant, and deer, rabbit and insect proof!
Air Plants: These little guys can go anywhere! Air Plants (Tillandsia) can and will grow without the need for soil, instead taking their nutrients from the air using structures on their leaves called trichomes. Generally not cultivated for their flowers, some varieties will nonetheless bloom beautifully on a regular basis. These make wonderful indoor plants for the office or home, as they do not require much care outside of a periodic soak in clean water. I think house plants are making a comeback, starting with these neat, unusual miniature plants. We also have seen many customers choose these as a gift alternative to cut flowers.
Incrediball Hydrangea: This hydrangea is truly “Incrediball”! Its sturdy stems are topped with humungous balls of pure white blooms during the summer. Those beauteous blooms are fantastic for cut flower arrangements. Reaching 5 feet tall and wide, this hydrangea is sure to make a statement in your garden or yard.
Locally Grown: Homeowners have begun to grasp the benefits of locally grown plants. Plants that grow here, thrive here. Similar weather and soil conditions make for plants that experience less transplant shock and adapt easily to their new homes. Due to our climate, they are typically slow grown, growing during the spring and summer and going dormant over the fall. This is a good thing! Compared to plants that grow quickly in southern locales, locally grown trees are older and more established by the time they reach your home. Finally locally grown trees do not have to suffer through long commutes on a truck, minimizing damage and heat issues. We are loving this trend. You get it and we've got it!
Miniature (Dwarf) Perennials: Awww, cute mini plants are BIG news in the landscape! They are great for small spaces and just for the novelty of being cute, little and different. It will be easy to find space for one of these miniature plants in the garden.
- Mini Stella - A miniature daylily with non-stop blooming habit
- Miniature Hosta - There are so many to choose from with lime or variegated leaves and tiny white flowers. One of our favorites: Pandora's Box
- Helenium - Short N Sassy! A brightly colored cultivar of the native perennial with a short and compact stature growing to just 12-18".
- Russian Sage "Little Spire" - A smaller, more compact grower than the giant traditional Russian Sage. Same silvery foliage and delicate lavender blooms, in a smaller package!
- Black Eyed Susan "Little Suzy" - Bright and cheery yellow blooms on short 12-24" stems. The elongated leaves make this variety unique as well.