Green Thumb – Garden Trends & New Plants in 2021

Posted: April 21, 2021

It is time to bid a less than fond farewell to 2020. This past year has been a challenge in many ways. Fortunately, we can now look forward to a brand new year and a brand new gardening season full of trends to discover and plants to inspire us.

Garden Trends

The first garden trend, appearing in multiple sources, is… Gardening. Gardening itself has never been more popular with all age groups. As we live in our current “lockdown” situation, people are discovering the benefits of gardening in their everyday lives.

Gardening connects us with nature and improves our physical and mental health. So, as strange as it sounds, Gardening is the number one trend for 2021. Who knew?

Gardening Sustainably comes in second in the trends. The sustainable gardening movement is gaining momentum with many enthusiastic followers interested in creating environmentally-friendly garden spaces.

Guidelines for helping us move toward a more sustainable garden include: planting native and drought tolerant plants, planting a variety of trees and learning to make your own compost. The simple practice of growing plants wisely will allow gardeners to increase sustainability in their home landscapes.

Monochromatic Garden

An unexpected trend for 2021 is Choosing One Color and Going For It. Most gardeners have a favorite color to activate to try this trend. Monochromatic gardening is not new, but it is having a resurgence of popularity.

Probably the best known, one color garden is the moon garden filled with eye-catching white flowers beautiful during the day but also great viewing in the evening hours. Not quite sure you want to go with only one color for all your gardens? You can ease in to it by creating a monochromatic container garden or small garden composed of some of your favorite color plants. Try it and see if you like it.

Now that we have explored the current trends for 2021, let’s take a look at some of the great new plants for us to consider for our home landscapes.

New Plants

The National Annual of the Year is ‘Pink Star’ petunia. It’s pink/white vibrant color can provide a mass of color. It is highly recommended for baskets, window boxes and containers. The more sun it gets the more blossoms you get.

The National Perennial of the Year is blue ‘Cat’s Pajamas’ catmint. This easy care, well-behaved catmint is popular with butterflies and bees. After spring bloom, just shear it back by half, and it will reward you with another colorful fall bloom.

The Oso Easy series of roses is truly oh so easy. This year’s entry and multiple award winning rose from that series is ‘Italian Ice.’ It opens with dramatic orange petals followed by a soft yellow and pink blush as it matures. Blooms should be appearing summer to fall. Again, six to eight hours for best bloom.

Native Plant

We were all disappointed over the last couple of years as we lost our burning bushes. The National Flowering Landscape Shrub, ‘Kodiak Orange Dierville,’ to the rescue. This is an eco-friendly, native shrub for us to consider. Yellow clusters of flowers will bloom all summer attracting bees, butterflies and hummingbirds.  As fall arrives, a glowing orange-red foliage lasting for several weeks will appear. This shrub has a very fancy name, but it is not fussy growing in any condition from complete shade to full sun. However, best flowering and fall color will occur if grown in sun.     

Whether you are an experienced gardener or just beginning, I hope you will enjoy some of the 2021 gardening trends and consider having fun with some of this great new selection of plants.

Barb Lindholm – University of Illinois Extension, DeKalb County Master Gardener

Got a Gardening Question?

The Master Gardener Help Desk is closed due to COVID-19. But gardening questions can be emailed to uiemg-dekalb@illinois.edu.


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