Expert grower and plantsperson Sarah Raven is the woman to ask about trends in plants and horticulture. Below she explains what were the garden trends over the last year and looks to 2023 to predict what's to come in gardening.

Sarah Raven by her garden shed
© Jonathan Buckley

There were three main things I saw becoming more and more popular in 2022.

Drought-tolerant plants

Firstly, of course after the July and August heatwaves we just had, it was drought-tolerant plants. Things such as scented-leaf pelargoniums (‘Attar of Roses’ is the very best), gazanias, and arctotis. These all hail from South Africa in their wild forms and grow and flower well with heat and drought, still remaining beautiful.


Biodiversity was very much at the forefront of people’s minds when plant-selecting. This theme has always been popular with our customers - who tend to be nature lovers -and it has become even more so with COP, climate change and species-loss so much in the news. I was repeatedly asked while teaching to give advice on what were the most bird-friendly things people could easily grow, and we saw sales of grains such as panicums and wildflower mixes, as well as small garden fruit and berry-bearing trees (amelanchier, crab apples and hawthorn) rocket.

Small gardens

Small gardens and what to grow for a small space outside the back door or window has also gathered momentum. That's elegant, long-season, super-simple plants, without needing much skill, time, or knowledge to make them grow well and look good. I think this is why hydrangea breeding has gone crazy, with glamorous and slightly crazy doubles, as well as rich and glorious colours appearing.

Garden trend predictions for 2023

Nemesia ‘Lady Lisa’ is a fabulous rich coloured container plant, which is drought resistant and exceptionally reliable, flowering at Perch Hill from May to October this year. If it stops flowering prolifically, give it a gentle haircut, feed, and water and off it will go again.

Nemesia 'Lady Lisa' (Lady Series) in zinc leaf planter
© Jonathan Buckley

Salvia guaranitica varieties are a little more reliably hardy than ‘Amistad’, and flower from June to November. These are brilliant for pollinators and as companion plants. There are new ones emerging like the beautiful soft sky blue ‘Argentina Skies’.

Salvia guaranitica ‘Black and Blue’ syn. S. caerulea of gardens
© Jonathan Buckley

Here's our guide to salvias

Dahlia ‘Dalaya Aruna’
is going to be huge, and the lovely Dahlia ‘Josie’ by my predictions. Compact dahlias, suited to growing in containers in general will be popular. People’s gardens are on average getting smaller, and luckily that’s being catered for by the huge dahlia breeding that’s taken off in the last five or so years. Dahlias will flower for five months, continually covered in flowers to admire — and pick to keep them flowering.

Dahlia 'Josie' Ref: 15-77 Vlugt
© Jonathan Buckley

Don't miss our guide on how to grow dahlias

Ornamental sweet potatoes (the Ipomoea batatas such as ’Solar Tower Black’) take the versatile prize and I’ve totally fallen for them this year. I first saw them growing as houseplants in Paris, around those huge studio style windows maybe 20 years ago and felt inspired. They’re equally good growing up over teepees and arches outside. We used them this year as the dramatic, but super-easy backdrop to tender perennial climbers such as thunbergias.

Ipomoea batatas 'SolarTower Black'
© Jonathan Buckley

That takes me on to the Black-eyed Susans which have been turned into a glamorous, yet still dead-easy and reliable family of plants. There are now delicious terracotta-coloured ones, soft pinks, whites, apricot and amber, as well as the straight up (and to be less interesting) plain orange and yellows. These are fine growing in a dry, exposed place even on a balcony in a high-rise and they flower right into winter. They’re hard to beat.

Thunbergia alata Suneyes Terracotta
© Jonathan Buckley

I also think cut-and-come-again salad leaves such as ‘Wasabi’ mustard which you can’t buy in the supermarket will be popular. They are super-easy to grow, one group cropping more and more leaves over a good 5-6 month stretch. They make even a bowl of ‘Little Gem’ sparkle.

Mustard 'Wasabi'
© Jonathan Buckley

Head to to find these trending plants for sale.

Perch Hill open days in 2023

Sarah Raven’s garden at Perch Hill is open once again in 2023, beginning with six exclusive days in April. Visitors are invited to see the bulbs at their peak amongst drifts of honesty, wallflowers, and other early flowering biennials, and find countless pots of bulb lasagnes in all their different forms. Entry can be organised by pre-booking a time slot via the Sarah Raven website.

Sarah Raven courses for 2023

Sarah Raven’s gardening courses are back for 2023, with a calendar full of events suitable for both expert and novice gardeners.

Events include The Cutting Garden with Sarah Raven at Gate Street Barn, Guildford on 1st March 2023, ideal for those who have been thinking about creating an intensive cutting patch, or just growing a few flowers for the house. This is Sarah’s classic course updated with all her expert knowledge learned from growing cut flowers over 27 years.

On 16th March 2023, Sarah will guide attendees through the principles of the veg, salad and herb cut-and-come-again philosophy in A Year Full of Veg with Sarah Raven at Oxleaze Barn, Gloucestershire. Learn how to get a lot of produce from minimal space all year round and how to make the productive garden look good.

A Year Full of Flowers with Sarah Raven at Perch Hill Farm, East Sussex, is based on one of Sarah’s latest books and traces the year from January to December and will take place on 29th March and 4th April. During this course, Sarah will provide inspiration, planting ideas and expert advice for a beautiful garden all year round.


Earlier this year, Sarah Raven told us about her favourite Dahlia varieties. You can read about her choices here.


Molly Blair
Molly Blaireditorial and digital assistant

Molly is the Gardens Illustrated's editorial and digital assistant. She has a roof garden and has her RHS level 2.