The Top New Garden Trends to Try in 2022
Spring gardening season is upon us and it's time to get growing! Here are the top garden trends that the pros forecast for 2022.
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Welcome New Gardeners
The 2021 National Gardening Survey compiled by the National Gardening Association shows that 18.3 million new gardeners started gardening in 2020, and two-thirds of all gardeners tried a new gardening activity. The greatest rate of increase came from younger gardeners, people with children, apartment or condo dwellers, and people of color. Gardening for beginners is among the top garden trends.
Garden Trends: Landscapes as Escapes
Gardens are our sanctuaries, extended living rooms and go-to party zones these days. “It looks as if people will still be planting more in 2022,” says Claire Josephson, marketing and brand manager at PanAmerican Seed, a breeding division of Ball Horticultural Co. “Everyone is still planning to spend time in their yard, still planning on spending time at home. Gardening as a stress reliever will be big.”
Plants help build community, too. “People want online groups, but they are also swapping plants and placing hostas to give away at the end of their driveways,” Claire says. “We’re getting better at being good neighbors.” That includes dressing up the front yard for better curb appeal.
Gardens naturally intersect with health and wellness, too. “Plants make people feel good,” says Katie Tamony, chief marketing officer for Monrovia, a California-based horticulture company. “Our outdoor spaces are becoming more important to us, and we’re investing more in those outdoor spaces.”
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Garden Trends: Growing Food Phenomenon
Growing edibles was already trendy, but Diane Blazek, executive director of the National Garden Bureau and All-America Selections, sees this category expanding even more. “Container-grown vegetables are what all the plant breeders are working on,” she says. Tomatoes and peppers are the top crops, whether in the ground or in a pot, but they are being joined by less obvious contenders. “In the next year or two we will have an excellent container watermelon,” Diane says.
Interplanting veggies with flowers is also gaining popularity. “Vegetables are accessories to a flower bed, especially if you’re someone with a smaller space,” Claire says.
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Garden Trends: Support for Pollinators
Bees and other pollinators are necessary for food, medicine and much, much more—and gardeners are responding to their needs. “An estimated 67.2 million households purchased at least one specific plant in 2020 because they knew the plant was beneficial to birds, bees or butterflies,” says Katie Dubow, president of Garden Media Group.
Much of that growth was spurred by families who wanted to draw kids’ interest to the garden. People with children in their households are more likely than others to say they purchased a plant because it was beneficial to pollinators, she adds.
Horticulture companies such as Monrovia are paying attention. Out of the 10 themed plant sets they tested, “our pollinator combination was the most desired,” Katie Tamony says. “A lot of people want to interact more with their garden. They’re gardening for pollinators and birds—seeing them makes people feel good.”
Katie Dubow noted that the National Wildlife Federation recently launched a new Garden for Wildlife collection, which offers native plant packages based on your state to attract insects that feed 96% of backyard bird species.
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Garden Trends: Create a Houseplant Heaven
Especially among younger gardeners, the interest in growing indoor plants continues to climb. As a bonus, studies show that growing houseplants improves mood, boosts recovery from illness and reduces fatigue.
“The trend is for something unusual,” Diane says. “The foliage plant market is booming. Consumers want interestingly shaped leaves, serrated edges, variegated colors, unique shades of green or miniature versions.”
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Garden Trends: The More Plants the Merrier
Diane suggests experimenting with the mix of plants in your garden, from type to color to perks.
“We’re not Laura Ingalls Wilder with prairie surrounding our houses,” says Diane. It’s OK to add nativars, hybrids and heirlooms to the native plants in your garden. Selecting a new hybrid with greater drought tolerance and disease resistance is a good idea, she says, as is growing an heirloom tomato that you can’t find in a supermarket.
Planting a mix of climate-appropriate plants is good garden stewardship, Katie Tamony agrees. “I want to encourage people not to think about plants being just beautiful or tough,” she says. “We’re all about multiuse plants that serve multiple needs, such as vines that are beautiful but also produce fruit.”
Mixing and matching on impulse, such as pairing an herb with an annual flower, is more popular, too, says Claire. She adds that horticulture companies work hard behind the scenes to offer a huge range of vegetables, annuals and perennials instead of just the top 10 most popular. “Otherwise, it would be as though we all lived off mac and cheese, and no one would enjoy living off that!”
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Garden Trends: Plants for Birds
Katie Dubow points out that watching birds drives an interest in the plants that feed them. “Bird-watching grew people’s interest in growing more plants for nesting and food,” she says.
Households with kids are getting in on the trend, too. They were more likely than others to buy a plant for birds. “Kids really love watching birds,” Katie Dubow says. “And there are so many fun tools to do it, such as window feeders and wildlife cameras.”
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Plan Ahead for Purchasing in 2022
Because of the demand between both new and existing gardeners, experts advise that you seek out your gardening needs early this year. Supply chain issues are expected to affect basics such as plastic greenhouse pots. “So don’t leave it to the last minute to do your plant shopping,” advises Claire Josephson of PanAmerican Seed. Check out our top picks for garden hoses and potting soil.
Next, discover top secrets from the garden center.