Looking back over the past year, it's clear that fun houseplants and unique succulents indoors have been enjoying quite a moment. But what about out in our gardens? We tallied up the visits to our Plant Encyclopedia on BHG.com in 2019 to find out which entries you looked at most and it appears that you're all about anything that blooms. And no wonder—flowers bring unbeatable color and fragrance to our yards, plus they attract butterflies and other pollinators. Among the thousands of annuals, perennials, and tropicals you searched for, these 10 floral divas rose above the rest to claim their crown as the most popular flowering plants of the year.
Kicking off our top 10, verbena blooms its heart out all summer long in several vibrant colors, including red, pink, and purple like 'Estrella Dark Purple' pictured above. It will gracefully drape itself over garden walls or spill out of containers on trailing stems that can reach up to 3 feet long. Verbena thrives in full sun, taking heat and humidity without missing a beat. It's usually grown as an annual in colder regions where freezing temperatures will kill it, but it can continue growing year-round in frost-free areas.
When you've got a shady spot in your garden, you can count on begonias to provide constant color throughout the summer and into fall until frost kills them. And now there are varieties that will grow in sun, too. Some common types you're likely to see in garden centers include wax begonias (pictured above), rex begonias, tuberous begonias, and scads of hybrids. Their flowers come in various shades of red, orange, pink, rose, yellow, and white. Depending on the varieties, they'll grow between 1-3 feet tall.
Mandevilla will add effortless tropical flair to your patio containers and porch pots with its showy, trumpet-shape flowers that will bloom all summer long in colors like pink, red, and white. It can also provide some dramatic height—the slender, leaf-covered vines can reach up to 20 feet, though you can keep them at a more manageable 3 feet by keeping its tendrils trimmed. This plant needs lots of sun, but appreciates a spot that gets afternoon shade. While it's perennial in warmer parts of the country, mandevilla can't withstand frost, so bring it indoors over the winter if you'd like to keep it from year to year.
4. Bird of Paradise
Another tropical beauty on everyone's mind in 2019 was bird of paradise. It makes an instant statement with its unique, brightly colored blooms, usually in orange, white, and yellow. If you live in a region with frost-free winters, you can grow this plant as a perennial in a sunny garden bed where it can reach six feet tall or more. Otherwise, keep it in a container that you can move indoors until the weather warms up again in spring. Bird of paradise usually begins blooming in the fall, continuing into spring, though it can take a few years before a new plant will flower.
Jasmine is actually a large family of plants, but many of them produce sweetly scented flowers during the summer. Some grow as shrubs like the Arabian jasmine shown above, while others are twining vines that can climb 15 feet or more. Depending on the variety, you'll usually see white, pink, or yellow flowers that only get about an inch big, but they can still fill your yard with their intense fragrance. Jasmines bloom best in full sun or part shade. A few types can tolerate frost, but most need protection from cold temperatures.
Similar to culinary mint, catmint has aromatic foliage but unlike its aggressive cousin, it is actually well behaved in the garden. And it is much more showy, with long-lasting wands of purple flowers in summer that attract pollinators. This fast-growing perennial usually reaches about four feet tall and grows well in full sun to part shade. Catmint is very hardy, so it can be grown in Zones 3-9.
A favorite of butterflies, bees, and hummingbirds, lantana's clusters of blooms (usually purple, red, orange, white, pink, or yellow) produce plenty of nectar that will bring pollinators to your garden. It thrives in full sun, and heat and humidity don't slow it down one bit. You can treat it like an annual for adding color to your containers and garden beds with its summer flowers, where it will get about a foot tall. In frost-free regions of the country, it's a perennial shrub that can reach eight feet tall or more.
Calibrachoa flowers may look like small petunias, but they’re actually a different species. This annual grows quickly in full sun, producing bell-like blooms all summer long in shades of purple, red, yellow, pink, and white. Its trailing stems can reach about a foot long, making it a colorful addition to containers and hanging baskets.
Also known as cockscomb, you can find celosia in a variety of colors, including red, orange, yellow, purple, and white. The blooms make long-lasting bouquets and an easy-to-grow addition to your garden that will bring plenty of pollinators. The flowers also come in a variety of shapes—some look like flames perched on top of the plants and some look coral. Plant this annual in full sun, and it will grow anywhere from 6 inches to 3 feet tall.
Rather than blooming during the day, most varieties of moonflowers open at night and start to close as the sun rises. You can actually watch the flower buds start opening at dusk into white, trumpet-shaped blooms that can reach 6 inches across. Each lemon-scented flower only lasts one night, but the plant will keep on making new flowers all summer long. Grow this annual in full sun, and it will quickly grow up to eight feet tall so make sure to give them a trellis or other support structure to climb.
As we’d expect, easy-to-grow plants that produce brilliant blooms dominated our garden wish lists in 2019. We’re excited to see what everyone wants to grow in 2020, and which of these top flowers from 2019 hang on to their crowns in the new year!