Native plants, moon gardens and cyber lime are gardening trends to watch in 2024

By Heather Kirk-Ballard

LSU AgCenter Horticulturist

Every year, a series of gardening surveys is conducted to determine evolving trends in home gardening, consumer interests, perspectives and the types of information they value. The title of Garden Media's 2024 Garden Trends Report, “Eco-optimism,” speaks volumes about the ecological consciousness of home gardeners.

Some interesting findings from the survey: About 67% of Americans aged 18 to 23 report experiencing “eco-anxiety,” described by a persistent fear of environmental catastrophes fueled by the 50% increase in the frequency of climate-related disasters since 2000. Last year ranked among the top 10 warmest years on record, and in the South, we had some record-breaking droughts.

Recent studies suggest that more than 25,000 species are currently at risk of extinction due to climate change. By 2050, 200 million people could be displaced due to climate. For these reasons, gardeners want to do more with their landscapes and gardens, recognizing they can make an impact with their gardening practices. The report pointed out that 68% of people ages 15 to 24 — 1.2 billion people — want to make positive climate impacts.

Native plants are all around us — but they are not always easy to find on the shelf. The National Gardening Survey reported that the number of people purchasing native plants has almost doubled since 2019. In addition, they reported a 10% increase year over year in people planting for bees, butterflies and birds. Way to go for ecosystem services!

Ask for more natives in your local retail garden centers and work with local groups such as the Louisiana Native Plant Society to find more natives.

And what about carbon sequestration? More and more gardeners are thinking about this as we continue to face elevated levels of carbon in the atmosphere. Gardeners trying to help capture carbon should plant fast-growing native trees, native grasses and herbaceous perennials. Every decision counts.

Do you love sci-fi? Well, if you do, sci-fi landscape design trends are in this year. They include closed ecosystem terrariums, survivalist gardens and night gardens that shine in starlight, also known as moon gardens.

Moon gardens are enjoyed at night and defined by the type of plants that they include — typically, plants with white or cool-colored flowers in addition to silver or variegated foliage that can be seen in the reflected light of the moon.

Cool colors such as light blue, bright yellow, chartreuse and lavenders in addition to white flowers and gray and silver foliage can be more easily seen at nighttime in the garden. Moon gardens also can include flowers with heavy evening fragrance, light-colored hardscapes and accessories that enhance the garden at night. By incorporating more whites and silvers in the garden that reflect moonlight, you can give your landscape a cool evening vibe.

Survivalist gardens typically focus on growing a variety of plants that are nutritious, easy to grow and have a long shelf life. Common crops in survivalist gardens include vegetables, fruits, herbs and medicinal plants that can be preserved through canning, drying and other storage methods.

Survivalist gardens often prioritize resilience and sustainability, employing techniques such as companion planting, crop rotation and organic gardening practices to maximize yields and minimize dependency on chemical inputs.

In addition, neons, bright variegation and “alien” plants like unusual succulents and star-flecked or silver-hued plants are great additions to the sci-fi garden. Cyber lime is the color for the garden this year, according to the Garden Media survey. It’s a vibrant, almost fluorescent shade that invigorates both body and mind. This intense green symbolizes the dynamic synergy of nature and technology.

Lime complements a wide spectrum of colors. It pairs beautifully with fuchsia, vibrant oranges, yellows and various shades of pink and purple, creating a vibrant and energetic palette. Lime also contrasts strikingly with black and blends harmoniously with most other hues.

These are just some of the trends in gardening. Environmentally friendly and sustainable gardening practices are here to stay. The beginning of the new year is a great time to think about the changes you want to make in the garden. With the droughts of the past summer, you likely have space to grow and try new things.
White flower.

Moonflower (Ipomea alba) is a tropical white morning glory often planted in moon gardens. Photo provided by Christie Russell

Plant with lime-green foliage.
Neon green is the color this year for the garden. Look for Louisiana Super Plant lemon sedum in retail garden centers. Photo by Heather Kirk-Ballard/LSU AgCenter

Yellow flowers.
Gardening trends include planting to save the planet. Gardeners can plant fast-growing native trees, native grasses and herbaceous perennials. Photo by Anna Ribbeck/LSU AgCenter

1/22/2024 2:23:20 PM
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