2024 gardening predictions: what trends will we see?

As we move into 2024, Guy Barter shares the top trends to look out for in the year ahead. Resilient, planet-friendly gardens, greening grey space and purple veg are all in store…

In 2023, the unpredictable effects of climate change have taken centre stage, and garden resilience is the watchword for the year ahead. Drought in 2022, followed by extreme winter cold damage and a warm, wet summer in 2023, has been a game-changer for many gardeners. Just as we’d begun to plant drought-tolerant plants, our contrary climate inundated us with torrential rain for many gardeners.

Focusing on garden resilience and improving plant health will come to the fore in 2024.

Guy Barter, RHS Chief Horticulturist

In 2024, our 30 million gardeners across the UK can look forward to indoor spaces bursting with houseplants. There is a continued appetite to prioritise planet-friendly gardening techniques over formality and produce yield, and a growing movement of gardeners taking action to green our grey urban areas for personal wellbeing and to help the planet.

The 2024 gardening predictions are based on horticultural trends and gardener enquiries to the RHS team of gardening advisors and pathology, entomology and botany experts. This year saw the highest number of enquiries the RHS has ever received – 115,000 questions.

Greening grey spaces

A tranquil oasis, filled with luscious green houseplants, suitable for even the smallest of spaces

A new generation of gardeners emerged during the pandemic. They continue to garden in the most challenging of circumstances – small urban spaces, balconies or even without a garden. These urban areas are more grey than green – but urban gardeners are beating the odds and growing successfully in pots, growing up instead of out, and using innovative ways of colonising indoor space, including planting in terrariums.

With a desire to play a part in helping urban biodiversity and combatting climate change, these urban and indoor gardeners are inspiring other urbanites to create a gardening movement that helps urban green spaces to flourish.

Clare Matterson, Director General of the RHS, said: “I’m excited to see a growing interest in gardening in urban areas. My first ever garden was at a small flat in Brixton, London. Through this tiny space, I was able to get my hands in the soil, connect with the seasons, and enjoy growing both flowers and vegetables. At the RHS we want to open up gardening for everyone, anywhere.”

Grow Your Own

Harvesting ripe tomatoes ready for eating; still one of the most popular crops to grow

The RHS Gardening Advice service and website continues to see remarkable growth in ‘grow your own’. Enquiries are less about yield and more about helping the environment and understanding how fruit and vegetables are cared for. The most popular vegetables are tomatoes (technically fruit) followed by cucumbers, courgettes, chillies and runner beans. Gardeners have turned away from intensive cultivation, fertilisers and watering on a lavish scale. They are happy to accept modest yields but benefit from knowing they are tending their plots more sustainably.

Purple power

Purple veg is popular – Brassica oleracea ‘Mendocino’ (purple sprouting broccoli)
Phaseolus vulgaris ‘Purple Queen’ (dwarf French bean)

The health benefits of vegetables with a natural purple hue have attracted more and more attention. Breeders have begun introducing purple varieties that are easier to grow than traditional ones and avoid previous drawbacks, such as non-fruiting and limited ‘purpleness’, especially after cooking. Gardeners and chefs can anticipate purple carrots, cauliflowers, broccoli, tomatoes, peas, radishes, French beans and lettuces.

Climate change fruits

The cultivar Malus domestica ‘Scrumptious’ PBR is an AGM variety of apple suitable for cooking

Recent hot, dry summers are ideal for certain fruits, grape vines being an outstanding example – but others include figs, almonds, apricots, melons, peaches, nectarines and watermelons. Of course, climate change is highly unpredictable and can also be damaging – including to existing fruits that need winter chilling, such as blackcurrants, apples and pears, so following this trend should be treated cautiously.

Apples, plums, figs, pears and raspberries are the most popular fruits – with apples topping the list and an increase in popularity predicted for 2024. Choosing the right apple for your garden and ‘to taste’ is made easier by using recommended RHS AGM apple trees that have been tested for growth and performance by RHS experts. The recent surge in patio fruit varieties , including dwarf raspberries, blackberries and mulberries will see an increase in patio fruit that will provide gardeners with fresh flavours on their doorstep.

Local seed provenances and survivalist gardens

Gardeners are considering where their seeds come from 
Growing tomato seedlings in recycled The Garden paper wrap

After the temporary hiccup in the vegetable supply chain last spring, some gardeners now favour growing with more independence, including where they source their seeds. Localism is playing a stronger role with some gardening gurus promoting the benefits of seed strains adapted to local climates.

Going wild

Cow parsley used to great effect in the Chapel Gardens at Mannington Hall Gardens

Seeds that produce less formal flowers, from a milder colour pallet, including flowering non-native meadows continue to be very popular. The use of wildflower seeds is moving away from a designated wildflower patch/meadow and into the borders – examples include alexanders, meadowsweet and Welsh poppies. Even plants traditionally seen as ‘unwanted weeds’ (identify common weeds) such as Herb Robert and plantain are becoming popular. Cow parsley is now a desirable border plant, and dandelions are recognised as being key to providing food for bees early in springtime.

Gardening with nature

A gardener taking time to relax in a non-formal garden
A naturalistic wildflower area provides support for wildlife

The move away from classical, formal layouts towards naturalistic landscapes will continue to grow, with gardens making people feel that they are in a wild place, as well as providing benefits to wellbeing, wildlife and increasing the ease of maintenance.

Planet-friendly gardening

Melanargia galathea (Marbled White butterfly) in a flowery meadow

Gardeners will be more in tune with nature – enquiries to the RHS about wildlife gardening increased by over 28% in 2023. Whether to let the grass grow long and allow wildflowers to have their moment in the sun, is a far more popular question than getting great lawn stripes. The shift reflects an interest in supporting birds, pollinating insects, invertebrates and the wildlife that depend on them, by growing plants that offer food and shelter all year round. Joined by making bug hotels, sourcing pollinator-friendly plants, leaving dead timber and introducing water features, even small ones, to benefit wildlife.

Using mulch to save water, supress weeds and improve the soil
A water butt is a good way to save rain water

Using less water overall, creating more plant diversity, and choosing ethically and locally sourced materials represent a definite shift in day-to-day gardening techniques. Gardeners are assessing water-saving methods, including using mulch to retain moisture, creating raised beds, and how they are collecting and storing rainwater.

The harvesting of peat for gardening has had a devastating impact on peatlands, and on their unique wildlife and ability to act as carbon sinks to protect our planet. In 2024, amateur gardeners are likely to be looking for more sustainable alternatives and making the most of home-composting opportunities.

Houseplants reach the next level

Mixed houseplant display including Pilea peperomioide and Ceropegia woodii

With hanging houseplants taking centre stage. Houseplanteers want to fill every corner of their homes with tropical-looking plants and orchids, bringing a ‘jungle vibe’ to their spaces – and growing up instead of out. Favourites will include Epipremnum, Sedum morganianum, and old favourites such as string of hearts and spider plants.

Busy lifestyles are no barrier to gardening, with

succulents and cacti providing easy options for indoor use. Creating a Mediterranean look by growing citrus is more popular, with enquiries to the RHS increasing by 22%. Although suited to indoor and conservatory growing, citrus can often enjoy a summer holiday outdoors in the garden as temperatures allow. If you’re looking for houseplant inspiration and innovation next year, visit the first RHS Urban Show in Manchester, 18–21 April 2024 (tickets on sale now).


Close up of Aeonium ‘Logan Rock’ in an outdoor container
Mixed succulents on a windowsill including Haworthia, Sedum, Crassula and Cotyledon

An increase in sales of houseplants and drought-resistant bedding, indicates our interest in succulents continues to grow. Commercial landscapers are even planting the hardier ones into landscapes, with new cultivars being released, such as Aeonium, Cotyledon, and Crassula – succulents may well be the top-seller in 2024.

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