Wednesday, 28 February 2018

New and Novel Planting Ideas

There are so many interesting, beautiful and productive plants to buy, and the horticultural industry develops new plants and new varieties every year. They do this because they know gardeners are always on the lookout for something new or unusual, something that will be a talking point for friends and visitors and make their backyard a special place. If you aren’t sure what all the fuss is about, have a look at these examples of new plants and planting ideas for 2018.


For the last few years, there’s been a trend for growers to come up with new fruits that combine the characteristics of existing fruits. One of the earliest examples of this was the crossing of blackberries and raspberries to produce tayberries and loganberries. Some flavours are produced by crossing different varieties of the same fruit, for example, pineberries look like white strawberries and taste of pineapple but are the result of a cross between ordinary strawberries and a more unusual Hawaiian strawberry. This year there’s a new grape variety called the Blueberry Grape, which looks like a bunch of blueberries and has a hint of blueberry flavour but grows on a vine. It’s seedless and reasonably hardy and will grow vigorously in the right conditions.

Growth modifications

Plants typically have a specific growth habit so that they will be climbers, shrubs, groundcover etc. and it’s now popular to have plants that form different growth habits, so, for example, there is honeysuckle called Run-a-long that instead of climbing traditionally forms a ground cover. Going in the opposite direction, there is a strawberry that instead of being a compact, low-growing plant grows as a climber. You can find out more about this plant at


Not new exactly, seed bombs have been around for a few years now, but are becoming increasingly popular and have far more varieties than before. The “bombs” are balls of clay, compost and seeds that you just chuck out into the backyard or a field and leave to their own devices. They are mostly composed of combinations of wildflowers and grass seeds and are particularly good for growing areas for wildlife and insects. Another similar gift idea is greetings cards that have either a packet of seeds in them or even seeds embedded in the paper that can be planted as they are. Chillis, peppers and other seeds that are robust and don’t require particularly delicate storage are best for this.

Many new plants are ideal for novice gardeners and make good novelty presents, but check the growing instructions before you give them as gifts, because some can be a bit more demanding and need a more knowledgeable level of care. Plant growers and garden centers like to be able to offer new and different products so they can keep gardeners interested and make their outlets appealing as a destination. Smaller, specialist growers also develop new plants, so it’s worth keeping an eye on what they have on offer.

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