Looking ahead with the RHS

January 10th, 2020 | Plant Talk with Graham Rice | 0 Comments

Nemesia Karoo Series and 'Big Devil' chilli

It’s the new year, so everyone’s been making predictions – including the Royal Horticultural Society. Many of their ideas are, not to put too fine a point on it, continuations of existing trends – more and larger houseplants, naturalistic planting styles, and the continuation of the whole grow-your-own phenomenon for example.

But here we focus on plants and the RHS has picked a couple of out-of-fashion favourites for a comeback: diascias and nemesias. These two, often not quite hardy, are plants best used in patio containers and were very popular in the 1980s and 1990s but diascias in particular have drifted out of favour.

The problem with diascias is that they come mainly in orange and in vivid pink – colours which most gardeners think clash horribly – plus the less often seen white, and not much else. Demand has been so slow that Mr F now lists neither seed nor plants of diascias although eyes are open for new introductions that break the mould.

Nemesias come in a wider range, as in the Karoo Series (above), and have lost less of their popularity but they too need the kickstart of something new. Deadhead and feed them regularly, though, and they’ll flower all summer.

The RHS also mentions grow-your-own, and in particular chillies. “Chillies remain the number one choice owing to their ease of growing and colour,” they say but I confess that I’m surprised that chillies are the most popular grow-your-own crop. My advice is to grow grafted plants like ‘Big Devil’ (above) for their extra vigour, disease resistance and the ability to thrive in less than ideal conditions.

All grafted chillies need is a pot on a sheltered patio – you can even plant them in a large container and surround them with nemesias. Now there’s an idea…

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Is one of our best known gardening writers. A graduate of the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew, Graham was previously Gardening Correspondent of The Observer.
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