Fresh off the MANTS (Mid-Atlantic Nursery Trade Show) floor in Baltimore, I made lots of fresh contacts and found many exciting plant introductions that I want to use in my future landscaping projects. I am stoked for the 2023 gardening year and the new plants and ideas that are hitting the nursery and garden center shelves. In this post, I will review the plants and products that interested me, but this is just a small sampling that will be available at nurseries in 2023.
Going every year for over 30 years, I have seen the show evolve to its present state where the Baltimore Convention Center is overflowing with every kind of plant and gardening tool you can think of. And the plant lovers/growers/landscapers in the industry come in droves to see the new introductions, order their inventory, and get ideas for the upcoming gardening season. Wholesale to the trade only, there is nothing for the public to purchase.
With over 1500 booths on 300,000 sq feet of show floor, the show is massive and it takes me 3 full days to wend my way through it all. And still I miss parts of it!
With the upsurge of interest in houseplants, Proven Winners has a new collection called Leafjoy whose aim is, “Staying connected to and nurturing plants year-round”. This booth turned out to be one of my favorite places to browse, even though I primarily use outdoor plants, rather than houseplants in my work. But if you love plants, you love all plants!! Houseplants have come a long way since their heyday of the seventies and eighties. Leafjoy plants come with large informative plant tags with detailed instructions on how to care for your specific choice.
Browsing through all the offerings, I noticed at once these aren’t your ‘usual’ houseplants that you pick up at a big box store.
For supporting your new houseplants, a bendable moss covered pole, from ‘Mossify’ is available that you can mist with a Mossify Mistr and will look very natural holding up your trailing and climbing plants.
Are you interested in a 100% biodegradable solution to potting up your seedlings? Peat and plastic free, and family owned, CowPots, are made out of the family’s dairy farm composted cow manure to make a fully sustainable product. Genius! I have used these for years and wouldn’t use anything else. Check out my Seed Starting post for more information on tips on starting seeds.
New Plant Introductions
A huge draw for me, I want to know what new plants will be hitting the nurseries for the next planting season. Many of the new plants, I realize will fade away, but there will be some that will be a hit and stick around. Here are a few that I was interested in:
Nemesia Aromance Mulberry
I create a lot of containers for clients and this one caught my eye for not only the appearance, but the fragrance. I am a sucker for fragrant flowers and this one you can smell from 10 feet away! Nemesia has always been an early blooming favorite of mine and I loved the colors and size of the flowers of this new one. A bedding plant that flowers so profusely that you can’t see any foliage, it will peter out when hot weather comes, but by then, other plants take over. Enjoy it for at least 8 weeks and then you can transition to something else that prefers hot, sunny weather. – like lantana. Here is Amy of Pleasant View Gardens showing off her favorite new annuals:
Colocasia Royal Hawaiian Waikiki drew a lot of comments and stares and I will be using this tropical as a container plant for my designs.
Native plants are a huge and growing trend and I was interested to see lots of new native plant introductions to fill out my native plant toolkit. I get so many landscape requests, using only natives, that I welcome any new introductions to fill a particular need. American Native Plants is front and center with introducing unusual and worthy native candidates.
Have you heard about the dreaded boxwood blight that is hitting the U.S. hard? First appearing in Europe, this dreaded fungal scourge is now in the U.S. and is rapidly killing our boxwoods everywhere. Breeders everywhere are coming up with blight resistant varieties that should replace our traditional varieties. As a designer who uses boxwood widely for their beauty and deer resistance, I was very interested.
Living here in the mid-Atlantic in a 6b zone, I never thought I could grow Agapanthus, but I am changing my mind about that after seeing varieties that could overwinter here. Agapanthus was blooming at MANTS everywhere! Galaxy Blue, Northern Star, and Summer Skies are just a few that will overwinter successfully in zone 6 and I was inspired to try these. Southern Living Plant Collection introduced the ‘Ever’ Series which is a beautiful sapphire blue.
I use Osmanthus , an evergreen false holly, in many of my designs for it’s superior deer resistance, and this ‘Misty River’ from the Southern Plant Collection will be on my list to use this year. Deer resistance in a plant is often over-rated, but Osmanthus is a stalwart for me and I loved the gold variegation of this plant.
Oakleaf Yellow Picotee’ is an easy, carefree cultivar with green oak-leaf shaped foliage. The flowers rise above the leaves to add visual interest and they really look like oaks. Not a native, but a great ground cover alternative to more commonly planted things, such as pachysandra, this drew my interest.
Pollinator Friendly Lawn
I am a huge pollinator friendly fan and this new ‘Flowering Lawn‘, from Flawn, really struck me as a brand new concept. I have written a blog post on this at Planting a Pollinator Friendly Bee Lawn and these seed packets make the whole process very easy to execute. Instead of seeking out the appropriate seeds, these seed packets mixes create the right mix for your lawn.
Another new product that I was interested in was Vole King. How many times have you planted something and voles have come along and wiped them out? Vole King has come up with a finely woven mesh which will deter these pesky animals from getting into the crown of the plant. Acting as a barrier and plant protection, you can buy the mesh in rolls or in planting pouches. These would even protect newly planted bulbs!
January is the right time for the MANTS show as I have a bit more time to digest the information and make my plans for next year. Christmas is still fresh in my mind though and I loved the products from The Magnolia Company. And as anyone who has ever read anything in this space before, I am a Christmas Decorating Fan! That’s wraps it up for a successful MANTS show.
The Magnolia Company