Takeaways From the 2024 Philadelphia Flower Show That You Can Incorporate Into Your Own Garden

The Philadelphia Flower Show, which serves as harbinger of spring, runs deeper than displays of pretty flowers. More importantly, it introduces us to cutting-edge trends in houseplants, florals, landscape and event design.  

Over the course of its long history, the Philadelphia Flower Show has been credited with being the platform to showcase the newest plant introductions; it’s also regarded as being the birthplace of global industry trends. A prime example is the first American showing of the now much-beloved poinsettia during the inaugural Flower Show in 1829.

Courtesy of The Pennsylvania Horticultural Society.

This year’s show, United by Flowers, continued its role of inspiring plant and garden lovers to take what they saw and learned home with them and incorporate those ideas into their own evolving gardens. The show’s sponsor, the Pennsylvania Horticultural Society (PHS), which was founded in 1827, shares the trends that emerged from United by Flowers.

Trending House Plants – Aroids, Begonias, Gesneriads, and Terrariums 

Aroids such as Philodendron, Amorphophallus, Monstera, and Anthurium continue to be popular. All these plants had individual categories in the Flower Show’s competitive classes and excellent participation, reflecting a still growing interest in this plant family.

Begonias saw a surge of public interest with more begonias displayed, along with a wide array of rare begonias such as Begonia pteridifolium and Begonia montaniformis.

Gesneriads, the flowering plant family most popularly known for including African violets, also saw a tremendous growth. Look for Streptocarpus, Sinningia, Petrocosmia, Primulina, and Kohleria.

Terrariums saw an explosion in popularity at the 2024 Flower Show. This approach to growing plants can accommodate a wide array of plant groups including gesneriads, ferns and carnivorous plants. Terrariums are prized for their eye-catching container designs and the wide variety of style options, making them low maintenance, eye catching and approachable for all levels of gardening experience.

Landscape Trends

Courtesy of The Pennsylvania Horticultural Society.

Rewilding of land is a gardening and landscape trend on the rise in 2024, especially the rewilding of urban areas. Rewilding helps to increase biodiversity and restore the natural processes of an ecosystem by reducing or ceasing human activity and reintroducing plant and animal species to take over a space naturally. This trend was well-represented at the 2024 Flower Show in Kelly Norris’ exhibit “A Beautiful Disturbance,” which featured a vacant lot overtaken by plants. Apiary Studios’ exhibit, “Right of Way” celebrated the plants and wildlife found on highway roadsides.

Floral Event Design Trends

Here’s a pic that demonstrates using organic additions to a floral display that Tim Arpin of The Gilded Lily created several years ago. At the end of the evening guests were given shopping bags and were invited to help themselves to the vegetables and flowers. Photo by Sue Long.

Hyper-locally sourced cut-flowers are another trend identified at the 2024 Flower Show. Jennifer Designs’ exhibit, which depicted a breathtaking floral map of the United States and celebrated how we are all connected through flowers and gardens, utilized hyper-local cut flowers to color-code the floral map according to USDA hardiness zones. The use of locally sourced cut-flowers in this display shed light on the carbon footprint of mass-grown imported flowers.

Table-top topiaries and arrangements provide pops of color, texture and unique shape throughout an event space or floral display.

Floral Trends – Color, scale, shape, and structure

Monotone, bold neon colors (especially orange and pink) and color-blocking. This use of simplified yet striking and bold colors can already start to be seen across the floral industry and in many floral event settings.

Large scale, statement floral sculptures and arrangements that are focal points are taking place over the previous preference for many smaller clusters of florals.

Organic materials like fruits and vegetables will be included in arrangements and designs, providing a bit of whimsy.

Organic shapes, particularly from 3-D printers and the use of nontraditional mediums such as concrete will allow designers to display stunning and organic shapes and masses, using natural materials such as moss, grass and foliage, reflecting the idea of the “no flower-flower arrangement.”

Anthurium in unique, vibrant colors that are both natural and created will provide an eye-catching addition to arrangements, sculptures, and floral displays.

For information about the Pennsylvania Horticultural Society and the Philadelphia Flower Show, visit phsonline.org/the-flower-show.  

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