Green Thumb – How Does Your Garden Grow

Posted: April 21, 2020

Welcome Spring!

It’s time to welcome the spring gardening season. We will explore some of the new garden trends for 2020 and get acquainted with some of the many new plants being offered for our gardens.

A quick but important step before we begin is to review notes that we made following the end of the 2019 season. Take a look at what were your gardening successes and what perhaps could be improved in 2020. Following this review, it is time to discover what garden ideas are trending in this new year.

The number one trend in 2020 is vertical gardening. Vertical gardening can greatly enhance your home landscape. The use of trellises, arches, obelisks and living walls gives the gardener the opportunity to take the garden up leaving more space for horizontal planting. Vines are one of the very best plants for vertical gardening. They are available in many annual and perennial forms and are very attractive individually or combined with other vines for long season interest.

A renewed garden trend for this year is the houseplant movement. Houseplants contribute attractive decor options and improve the air we breathe indoors. Sometimes what is old can be new again.

Urban areas are exploring the possibility of planting more trees for their temperature cooling and air cleaning potential. Trees are valued for their ability to help us be more interactive with nature.

New plants for 2020

‘Sun King’ Aralia has been selected by the Perennial Plant Association as the perennial of the year. Though not a new plant, this beloved shade garden staple has been waiting in the wings for recognition. Its beautiful golden leaf color will light up a shade garden area. It produces small cream-colored flowers that appear in July and last well into September. A part shade location will make this plant perform at its best. Be sure to save plenty of room for this beauty as it can grow from 4 to 6 feet tall and nearly as wide.

Sun-loving new perennials for you to consider this year include Echinaceas ‘Marry Me’ and Sombrero ‘Baja Burgundy’ both being praised for their long flowering period and hardiness. Rudbeckia ‘American Gold Rush’  offers great humidity tolerance,  disease resistance and colorful blooms from July to September.

The American Annual Selection committee has selected the Main Street Beale Street series of coleus plants for award status. This beautiful collection of coleus plants are available in shades of red, burgundy and gold and hold their color well into late summer.

It is a California treasure, but it will grow here. ‘Little Galaxy’ agapanthus is a brand new, smaller version of the popular taller form of this plant. This little stunner will produce clusters of blue tubular flowers on small sturdy, 2’ stems throughout the summer. ‘Little Galaxy’, like its taller relative, grows from a bulb that will need to be wintered over indoors.

Hopefully, getting acquainted with these new varieties of plants will be an inspiration for you as you enter the 2020 gardening season. It will be fun to try new plants in combination with some of our old-time favorites as they come back after their winter’s rest.

Enjoy your 2020 gardening season.

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

Horticulture Help Desk: Due to COVID-19 concerns the
University of Illinois Extension Horticulture Help Desk is closed
until further notice.