Grow Like a Pro: 11 Award-Winning Plants and Products for Foolproof Gardens


Posted: January 03, 2024 | Word Count: 896

A new year means a new garden! It's time to start thinking of what you’ll cultivate indoors and outdoors in 2024. Whether large or small, in sun or shade, there are many choices of plants to fill your indoor and outdoor spaces, as well as the tools that make things easier.

Looking for inspiration? Check out The National Garden Bureau's 2024 Green Thumb Award winners. These plants and products are perfect for both beginner and experienced gardeners and will make your garden a success this year and beyond!

1. Hydrangea First Editions Eclipse

The Eclipse® Hydrangea is a new variety of dark-leaf mophead hydrangea that offers season-long beauty! The shrub's intense, dark purple leaves hold their color, even in sunny, warm climates. The striking foliage and gorgeous dark purple or cranberry-colored blooms will pair perfectly with anything in your garden, adding dramatic impact. Maturing at 3-5 feet tall and wide, Eclipse® will stand out as a focal point in the garden or decorative containers. Hardy in zones 5-9.

2. Catmint Chartreuse on the Loose

Chartreuse on the Loose is a perennial perfect for lining the front border. The foliage allows for a full three seasons of interest with bright chartreuse yellow leaves. Clusters of lavender blue flowers bloom just above the foliage and appear all summer long. Unlike most catmint, 'Chartreuse on the Loose' doesn't need to be cut back to produce flowers. Hardy in zones 3-8.

3. Begonia Stonehedge Rose Bronze Leaf

Stonehedge begonias are as iconic as their namesake! These annual begonias have extreme vigor, excellent heat tolerance and a well-branched mounded shape that grows up to 48 inches (120 centimeters) tall! You can even plant them in large containers. Eye-catching bronze foliage shows off rich rose blooms. Best of all, there's no need to deadhead these low-maintenance begonias.

4. Centaurea The Bride

Centaurea The Bride is a large annual featuring pure white flowers with a gorgeous feathery texture scented with sweet vanilla. The bushy plant grows 2 to 3 feet tall and works well in containers or beds, a must-have for any pollinator garden.

5. Cucumber Quick Snack

Winner of both the Professional's Choice and People's Choice awards in the edible category, the Quick Snack Cucumber produces deliciously crisp and sweet cucumbers in a matter of weeks. In just a month or so, you can eat handfuls of cocktail-sized cucumbers fresh off the plant or add to a vegetable platter or salad. You can enjoy cucumbers indoors and out with Quick Snack because the blooms do not require pollinators to produce fruit. An excellent way to enjoy homegrown vegetables all year long without an outdoor garden space.

6. Echeveria Coral Reef Red

Winner of both the Professional's Choice and People's Choice awards in the houseplant category, Echeveria Coral Reef Red lives up to its name with strongly pronounced ruffled foliage, perfect for adding intense indoor and outdoor colors! Elegant stems produce bell flowers throughout most of the year. This drought-tolerant beauty grows to just under 12 inches tall in full sun or shade.

7. Laura's Edition 3" x 36" Auger

Laura’s Edition Auger is an incredibly useful garden product. Using the extended-length bulb auger, you can effortlessly plant bulbs and 3- to 5-inch potted plants without kneeling or bending over. You’ll be planting trees and shrubs and digging post holes faster than you ever could before with a 3-inch auger drill bit. Power Planter bulb augers are also a great choice for installing beach volleyball poles and umbrellas or boring holes under sidewalks for electrical or irrigation lines.

8. Better Boxwood Skylight™

Be a more successful gardener with this new boxwood! Better Boxwood® is the first collection of blight-resistant boxwood resulting from two decades of revolutionary breeding and plant trialing. Skylight™ is one of four varieties, including Babylon Beauty™, Heritage™ and Renaissance™. Skylight™ is the faster growing of the collection with medium green leaves, suitable for pruning into shapes, in mass plantings and medium hedges. Hardy to zone 5.

9. Agapanthus Blackjack™

Blackjack agapanthus offers superior performance and exceptional blooms, near-black, purple flower clusters soaring atop tall stems. This resilient agapanthus combines a compact semi-dwarf growth habit with abundant blooms, offering an extended flowering season surpassing conventional varieties. Hardy in zone 8-11 and can be grown as an annual in all other zones. Named the Royal Horticultural Society 2023 Plant of the Year.

10. Petunia AMAZONAS Plum Cockatoo

AMAZONAS™ Plum Cockatoo petunia will certainly attract attention in your garden! These petunias bring a bit of the rainforest to gardens everywhere. Lush green hues pair with vivid, tropical purples to create a truly unique petunia. The variety creates a calming backdrop of natural color that pairs well with foliage plants. Large blooms grow on plants 12 to 18 inches tall.

11. Sunshine® Black Bear™ Potting Mix

Garden more sustainably with this new product! Black Bear™ is pure carbon captured and stored as a beneficial growing media formulated for growing in containers, hanging baskets, window boxes and fabric pots. The potting mix is produced by wood waste that would otherwise be burned or sent to landfills, releasing carbon into our atmosphere. The innovative potting mix provides exceptional aeration and drainage for both indoor and outdoor plants.

Try these exciting new plants and products to make your gardening life easier this year, making you more successful than ever! To learn more, visit NBG.org.

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