Container gardening is one of the big garden trends for 2018.
With a year of conferences, tests, trials and garden visits under our belts, we’re excited to tell you about the big ideas we think will be influencing the gardening world in the months ahead. Beyond popular colors and new varieties, big-picture themes always emerge on the world (gardening) stage that prompt designers and plant breeders to shift their work towards our changing needs. This year, most of what we see heading your way has to do with population, technology, cooperation over competition, and plants that solve problems. Keep reading to see what we’ve been taking note of!
2018 Garden Trends: Containers
Container gardening isn’t exactly new, but we feel confident that it’s about to get a whole lot trendier! With populations set to rise only in cities over the next 30 years and homes already being built smaller, more and more people will choose to do their gardening in pots.
Two big populations — millennials and retirees — are more frequently living in smaller spaces. Growers are keeping up with this trend by hybridizing favorite varieties into dwarfs, meaning that they're saving everything you love about these flowers, but breeding them to be much shorter. Some of our favorites are Compact Lavender, Dwarf Cosmos, and Dwarf Pampas Grass. If there’s a plant that you love, chances are you can find a dwarf variety of it!
Lavender is a favorite for containers. The fragrant blooms can fill an entire balcony or patio with their lovely scent.
Containers are a way for those living with small outdoor spaces (balconies included!) to create an oasis for pollinators in areas where they often need it most. It’s also a fantastic way for home gardeners to grow their own food — there are plenty of new dwarf vegetable varieties to choose from, as well.
Even for those with larger gardens to tend to, containers are an increasingly-popular way to dress up porches, patios, window boxes and entryways - or to create a low-commitment color combination that be changed up from year to year (or even from season to season). We’re excited to see what unique and fun container gardens come to life in 2018.
Coreopsis Berry Chiffon has delightful petals with raspberry hued centers and white edges. Developed to be disease resistant, deer resistant, and drought tolerant ensures your enjoyment of this prolific bloomer. No deadheading needed to help Berry Chiffon produce flowers from early summer to early fall. (Coreopsis)
Early to bloom and easy to care for, 'Stella D'Oro' Reblooming Daylily is a compact plant and a great choice for edging the front of the garden. Rich, golden yellow blooms come in strong in early to mid summer, and a reblooming habit brings them on again later in the season. Fragrant. (Hemerocallis)
Luna Red Hibiscus brings tropical flair to the hardy perennial garden with dramatic eight-inch cranberry red blooms produced continuously from mid to late summer. Broad, deep green foliage provides stunning contrast to the bright blooms. More compact growth and dense branching make Luna Red an ideal specimen for containers or borders. Deer resistant. (Hibiscus moscheutos)
2018 Garden Trends: Planting For Privacy
Vines (like this Clematis) are an affordable and attractive way to create privacy in your outdoor space.
If you spend your time staring at a monitor, sitting in traffic, and trying to escape the sounds of modernity (television and constant construction,) you may find yourself planting the beginnings of a private retreat. You can use tall, vining-plants, foliage-heavy varieties, and a sprinkling of your favorite flowers to block out annoying noises and eyesores.
With more and more of the population living in small spaces, this means closer quarters - and with that arrangement comes more noise. Dense plantings not only offer a sound buffer for those who crave peace and quiet in their lives, but plants can also function as a 'Do Not Disturb' sign of sorts. When you're not visible to your neighbors, they're less likely to start an unwanted conversation.
Beyond Privacy: Defensive Plantings
Many aren’t just planting for privacy in their outdoor spaces, but are also strategically planting vines and thorny bushes to help with home security. These 'defensive plantings' work in two key ways: 1) they fill spaces and block access underneath windows and other vulnerable entry points and 2) they provide privacy for windows that face the street, making it difficult to see inside.
Last season, after Butterfly Weed was announced as the Plant of the Year, we watched with excitement as gardeners everywhere joined together to grow these showy, native perennials in a cooperative attempt to help the struggling Monarch population. In our eyes, that was only the beginning of a beautiful movement.
In 2018, we see a variety of other cooperative gardening ideas taking over throughout the country. Some of our favorite citizen science projects come from the Xerces Society, the National Audubon Society, and the National Pollinator Garden Network. Go to bumblebeewatch.org, from the Xerces Society, to submit your bumble bee sighting, participate in the annual Christmas Bird Count for the Audubon Society., or register your pollinator garden with the Million Pollinator Garden Challenge from the National Pollinator Garden Network. Besides these favorites, there are also endless ways to get involved with citizen science and help people throughout the country gather data on pollinator populations in your area.
Fall is the perfect time to sow wildflowers! Our Fall Maximum Wildflower Seed Mix is designed for fall planting and will have your garden bursting with blooms. Our easy-to-grow mix includes 42 flower varieties for a boldly colorful planting. Perfect for meadows, garden beds, and lawn replacement. This hardy mix is perfect for any region: in warm climates, plant for bright fall colors; in cool climates, plan a dormant fall planting for blooms from spring through fall. All seed is non-GMO, neonicotinoid free, and guaranteed to grow.
Plant your support for the disappearing pollinator population in your own backyard with our Northeast Pollinator Mix. This easy-to-grow blend is designed to provide food and habitat to northeastern pollinators throughout the length of the growing season. Annual and perennial wildflowers like New England Aster, Black Eyed Susan, Milkweed, Coreopsis and Cosmos provide pollen, nectar and shelter for hundreds of important species, including Monarch butterflies and native bees. Contains only 100% pure, non-GMO and neonicotinoid-free seeds, best for planting in CT, DE, ME, MD, MA, NH, NJ, NY, PA, RI, VT, WV, QC and the Eastern Townships. Guaranteed to grow.
Restore native habitat to the landscape by planting the Native Northeast Wildflower Mix. Containing 18 native wildflowers found throughout New England and the mid-Atlantic, including Spotted Joe Pye Weed, Butterfly Weed, Red Columbine and Wild Lupine, this colorful mix is incredibly easy to care for. Best for planting in: CT, DE, MD, MA, ME, NH, NJ, NY, PA, RI, VT, WV, QC and the Eastern Provinces. All of the seed we offer at American Meadows is non-GMO, neonicotinoid-free and guaranteed to grow.
A field of Lupine is an amazing sight, with spiky blooms of saturated indigo-blue that last from late spring to summer. Combine them with later-blooming flowers (like Shasta Daisy and Rudbeckia) for an extended season of color. Growing to be about 12-36” tall, Lupine is a great choice for the front of the meadow or garden bed. Extremely easy to grow and deer resistant, this perennial flower blooms year after year. Seeds are 100% pure, non-GMO, neonicotinoid-free and guaranteed to grow.
Even if you aren’t planning to participate in these citizen science projects, 2018 will still be an important year to plant more for pollinators. One way to do this is to create a monarch waystation, which provides a variety of host and nectar plants for the dwindling butterfly population throughout their entire lifecycle. You can also plant bee-friendly varieties that bloom all season long.
Think Global, Plant Local
In 2017 we were excited to see an upswing in gardeners planting our Regional Pollinator Mixtures, which provide season-long food, shelter, and breeding grounds for a variety of pollinators native to your region. No matter what size garden you have — be it a small balcony or acres of land — 2018 is a great time to add more pollinator-friendly varieties to your landscape.
Maybe it’s to save time, money, and resources by mowing and watering less, or maybe it’s to remedy annoying landscape problems (think erosion), but planting groundcovers has become a very smart trend. Find a foliage and flower combo that you like, and let it spread under trees, down embankments, and wherever the mower won’t reach.
Groundcovers, like Creeping Phlox, are a low-maintenance alternative to grass and can also help prevent erosion and provide nectar for pollinators.
With the extreme weather we’ve been experiencing throughout the country, groundcovers have become a low-maintenance and attractive solution to some of the problems gardeners have been facing. Groundcovers can help prevent erosion in areas with heavy rainfall or prone to wind, and can become an easy (and long-lasting) alternative to a demanding, high-maintenance lawn. As we find ourselves busier than ever with less time to manage our landscapes, groundcovers are quickly becoming a gardeners’ favorite way to spend less time maintaining their property.
Our Pollinator Cover Crop Seed Mix features a varied mix of easy-to-grow legumes, including Clover, Alfalfa, Vetch, and Sainfoin. Small white, pink, purple, and gold flowers attract and nourish pollinators. Hardworking legumes suppress weeds, fix nutrients into the soil, improve soil condition, and prevent erosion. This is an excellent choice for groundcover and covercrops, as well as lawn replacement, or adding to a wildflower meadow. All of the seed we carry at American Meadows is non-GMO, neonicotinoid-free and guaranteed to grow.
Dutch White Clover is one of the most popular clovers used in lawns, but also has many other uses. Plant this perennial clover as a cover crop, groundcover, for erosion control or in your pasture mixture. The elegant, white flowers create a sweeping carpet of white. (Trifolium repens)
Southeast Native Grass Seed Mix is an easy-to-grow combination of grasses that are native to the Southeastern part of the United States. Featuring Little Bluestem Grass, Virginia Wildrye, Purpletop, and more, this mixture is perfect for planting in pastures and meadows. Turn your high-maintenance lawn into a low maintenance, ornamental native prairie.
In 2018 we see gardeners planting to help solve problems and help the environment.
2018 Garden Trends: Planting To Solve Problems
As we look back on our forecast for the 2018 garden trends, we can’t help but see a common thread with all of them: utility. Although a garden is by default a way to create an aesthetically pleasing outdoor space, more and more gardeners are starting to grow to help solve problems in their personal landscapes and greater communities.
We see this shift as just the start of how gardening will evolve in the future; people will grow more out of necessity and to help make the world around them the best that it can be. What trends are you most excited about in 2018? Please share your thoughts in the comments below!