Green Thumb – 2023 Gardening Trends

Posted: May 30, 2023

The interest in gardening over the last few years is a trend that is here to stay. Creating a place of beauty affects our mood, which affects our outlook on life. Our gardens become a healthy place of retreat.

Here are some of the notable trends we are seeing in 2023.

Color of the Year

This year’s color is terracotta. If you like to grow plants in containers you probably have this color ready for new plants. It’s the color of earth-tone clay pots.

There are many flowering plants with earth-tone colors. Pansy and dahlia come in coppery hues. There are canna, cosmos, dayliliy, hibiscus, chrysanthemum, impatien, lantana, nasturtium, poppy, snapdragon, zinnia, and the flower with a long tradition – the marigold.

The New Victorian Flower Garden

A trend that has never left us is the cottage-style garden of flowers, herbs and fruits. The New Victorian trend is a casual, more traditional garden that uses such plants as fragrant roses, lilac, hydrangeas, and hollyhock. It features more of the pink, purple, and white flowers, and often incorporates close planting. These gardens can be accessorized with white fences, gravel or brick pathways, birdbaths, and stone planters.

Gardeners are interested in planting wildlife-friendly gardens. They look for plants that attract pollinating insects and birds. Cottage Gardens are great for this. The more types of flowers you grow, the wider the variety of bees and butterflies you will attract.

Concern for the Environment and Climate Change

Gardeners are taking a serious look at plants that are heat and drought tolerant. The Mediterranean Garden trend includes cooling shade with seating, potted plants, water features, as well as drought-resistant plants.

Many herbs fit the bill. This type of garden includes trees that don’t suffer too much from heat and drought. The use of natural materials can add serenity. Stepping stones, for example, make us slow our pace. When placing them, check the comfort of the spacing before digging them in.

Succulents aren’t your only choice for dry areas. There is a wide range of plants that thrive in these conditions: yarrow, canna, coneflower, sedum, spirea, tall bearded iris, rudbeckia, pachysandra, hollyhock, echinops, heuchera, verbena, and fountain grass.

Environmental concerns are making gardeners think twice about relying on chemicals to tackle common garden pests. They are finding alternatives in traps, and companion planting to deter bugs. This allows more of the natural predators to thrive.

Gravel Gardens

There will be a push towards low maintenance Gravel Gardens. Once established, they require 80% less maintenance than a garden with similar plants.

Many drought and heat-tolerant plants like to grow in gravel, such as native grasses, native coneflowers, allium, bluestar, catmint, and baptisia. Beautiful Gravel Gardens can be seen at Olbrich Botanical Gardens in Madison, Wisconsin.


While people were house-bound over the last few years, they discovered that caring for even a few houseplants increased their sense of well-being. This trend is expected to continue because success has brought a desire to add more plants.

Now there is interest in foliage with interesting colors and leaf textures. Some want to try their hand at more exotic plants. Many types of houseplants perform better in homes that have dialed down the temperature.

So what is the best trend of all? It’s growing the plants that make you happy.

Janice M. Weber – University of Illinois Extension, DeKalb County Master Gardener