RHS predictions for plant trends 2019

We canvassed garden curators, show managers, exhibitors and those in the know to reveal some of the horticultural trends for the coming year

Which plants will be hot on our plots in 2019? The answer could perhaps be distilled into four words: back to the future. This year, there's a plethora of retro (and not so retro) classic plants twining their way back into the limelight. Some, such as ferns and coloured-leaved plants, never really went away - while others such as heathers are shaking off decades of disdain to reveal their charms once more.

Fern friends

Ferns, once the delight of Victorian drawing rooms, have long languished in the shadows. But come 2019 and their greenery is seen as soothing and stress relieving and with the richness of available varieties, ferns are finding a foothold again. Heathers too will be spurred by innovations such as the newly-replanted Heather Landscape at RHS Garden Wisley and their Plants for Pollinators status.

The resurgence in popularity of dahlias has continued in recent years and in 2019 they're being celebrated at RHS Chatsworth, Hampton and Tatton with mass plantings of different varieties bringing vibrant pockets of colour to each show.

Textured naturalism

For 2019 many of the gardens at RHS flower shows feature natural and woodland planting with a focus on texture.  Designers including Sarah Eberle, Kate Gould, Andrew Duff and Thomas Hoblyn predict a move towards planting that considers climate change in 2019.

Nepeta nervosa 'Forncett Select'Sarah Eberle says:  “In tune with what we're exhibiting through The Resilience Garden, I predict we'll be seeing a lot more planting that considers climate change, so we are prepared for the extreme weather conditions predicted in the future.  Through innovation, we can ensure our landscapes are healthy both for people and nature – I am sure lots of the gardens at next year’s RHS Shows will be brimming with inspiration.”

The horticulture on display at RHS Chelsea Flower Show tends to set the plant colour trends. Greens, whites and pale yellows are dominating the planting palates of gardens at RHS Chelsea, with splashes of orange and purple. RHS Garden Rosemoor is opening a Cool Garden this summer, designed with a rill water feature and in calming colours of blue, whites, pale yellow, pastel shades and grey foliage plants. There is also a step towards using more colourful foliage in gardens, especially yellow and purple leaved plants.


The popularity of houseplants will continue to rocket in 2019, with the main increase amongst younger audiences who either can’t have or don’t want an outdoor garden.

Matthew Pottage, Curator, RHS Garden Wisley, says: ‘Social media shows that this is a huge and growing trend – hashtags such as #plantsofinstagram and #houseplants are used in their millions and tweets on houseplants often receive thousands of retweets. In daily life I see fiddle leaf figs and Swiss cheese plants everywhere, especially amongst the younger generation who don’t remember the 1970’s houseplant trend.”

This is borne out by retail sales at the RHS which have increased significantly, with cacti sales rising by 34% last year. Often plants are being chosen to improve the environment and purify air, with sales of Spathiphyllum (peace lily), said to be efficient in removing airborne pollutants, increasing by 23% in 2018. So why not embrace this trend and bring some of this beneficial botanical bounty into your indoor space too?


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The Royal Horticultural Society is the UK’s leading gardening charity. We aim to enrich everyone’s life through plants, and make the UK a greener and more beautiful place.