Top 10 spectacular plants in bloom at Chelsea Flower Show 2022

Camille Phelps

Plant trends come and go, as do hemming and hairstyles and, being the gateway to the horticultural world, the Chelsea Flower Show is the place to see the hottest plants and designer picks that will influence what you’ll see in garden centers and online plant stores this summer and beyond.

With the show returning to its traditional May timeslot, there’s an abundance of wonderful blooms for designers to choose from at this time of year. But the weather has a big impact on what will turn out best and there are always a few last minute surprises and substitutions. Here is a selection of the 10 best flowering plants in Chelsea 2022 and tips on how to use them to achieve the Chelsea look at home.

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A Chelsea favourite, these gorgeous spiers of richly colored flowers have adorned many gardens and displays this year. Once a favorite of cottage gardens, lupins have been dulled with the old-fashioned brush for too long and, being prone to aphids, they sometimes put off new growers.

Rich purple spiers of Lupinus ‘Masterpiece’ adorned the Perennial garden, with love by Richard Miers and similar shades appear in Grow2Know Hands on the mangrove garden, and in the tubs of the small balcony of Jason Williams’ Cirrus Garden, it’s hard to miss ‘Towering Inferno’.

To be trendy with your lupines, don’t plant them en masse, but mix them with irises and foxgloves of similar height and a moss of softer grasses and smaller, lower flowers like geums and California poppies. If it’s hot in Chelsea, it must be time to revive these wonderful plants.

A little tricky to grow, as it requires very well-drained acidic soil, the faux indigo plant fits in well with Chelsea’s wilder planting styles this year. A member of the pea family, like lupins, it is an excellent plant for pollinators and for the soil, as the roots add valuable nitrogen.

At Tony Woods Garden Sanctuary by Hamptons, the baptisias stand out against the lush greens of angelica and honesty. With typically gray-green foliage and subtle floral arrows, baptisias pair well with many early summer flowering plants, including alliums, verbascums, and poppies. Look for the delicious ‘Dark Chocolate’ and ‘Pink Truffle’ cultivars.

Roses are part of Chelsea tradition, but beyond the more formal displays in the pavilion by producers Harkness and David Austin, in the Show Gardens, the roses are more in keeping with the wild theme of the overall show.

Look for Rosa glauca in Andy Sturgeon’s spirit garden and Paul Hervey Brookes Brewin Dolphin Garden where the pale grey-green foliage gives it a subtlety and simplicity that makes it easier to combine with other plants such as poppies and daisies, and the open bright pink flowers are quite modest but ideal for pollinating insects.

Purple alliums have been popping up in the Chelsea Show Gardens for years, but this year it’s time for the white allium. With perfect lollipop spheres atop straight stems, they manage to be ghostly and ethereal while making a bold statement.

Look for the white globes of Allium ‘Silver Spring’, ‘White Empress’ and ‘Mount Everest’ combined with white foxgloves, yellow lupine arrows and fine grasses like Stipa gigantea, and other bulbs like camassias. For great combinations, see the meadow mix in the Garden of the Embroiderers by Frederic Whyte.

From the more subtle sibirica species to the blousy glamor of bearded germanica cultivars, irises are used in many show gardens. And in the Grand Pavilion, the British Irish Society celebrates its centenary with a special exhibition. “Beards,” as they are sometimes called, bring a bit of drama and ruffles to wild, woolly mixes of small flowering plants.

Look for the gorgeous Iris ‘Jane Phillips’ in the Gold Medal Basic Arts Front Garden Revolution Andy Smith-Williams garden, where you can see their architectural foliage fully effective in gravel garden planting. Germanica irises are perfect for hot, dry planting areas because the rhizomes need to be baked all summer long to produce spectacular blooms.


Anchusa azurea ‘Royalist Loddon’

It’s one of those plants that has popped up in many planting schemes at this year’s show, from Main Avenue Show Gardens to All About Plants and Sanctuary Gardens. The remarkable deep blue flowers are truly striking and rich in pollen, making them a magnet for bees. With fairly stiff stems, they don’t need staking and are a much less fussy alternative to delphiniums, if you’re looking for a rich summer blue.

In the Mother’s garden for mothersdesigner Pollyanna Wilkinson uses them in a lovely mix of wild plants, with Alchemilla mollis, Geranium phaeum, nepeta, opium poppies and festuca and hakonechloa grasses.

They could easily be mistaken for stinging nettles because the leaves and flowers look alike, but they are much more suitable for the garden because they don’t bite like wild nettles. Also known as dead nettles, they are fantastic shade plants with beautiful, nectar-rich flowers that bees love.

While the Best in Show, An invigorating British landscapefeatures the yellow Lamium galeobdolon, blending naturally into its waterside wildflower pattern, in Sarah Eberle’s dramatic MEDITATE SMARTPLY Building the future, the balm-leaved nettle, Lamium orvala, nestles among primroses, waterweeds and ferns, evoking its woodland habitat. A good choice for shady gardens and small spaces.

What do you get if you cross a hardy sempervivum with a tender yet dramatic dark-leaved aeonium? Chelsea factory of the year of course. The new hybrid x Semponium ‘Destiny’ brings together the best of both plants to create this oversized succulent with a ruby ​​red rosette of fleshy leaves all year round. He battled 19 other amazing new plants, including a pink Salvia Amistad and the repeat-blooming Armeria pseudarmeria ‘Dreamland’.

This superb new succulent is best kept on your patio in a pot, where it will withstand winter temperatures in sheltered gardens, down to around -2°C. It is a fabulous solo plant, but also looks great planted with smaller rosette-like aeoniums and fleshy sedums, as seen in the Surreal Succulents exhibit in the Grand Pavilion.

Perfect for this year’s Chelsea wild style, aquilegia trees bring color and attract pollinators with their delicate blooms. While many gardens featured classic single varieties of Aquilegia vulgaris, it was the doubles that caught the eye and stood out.

A noteworthy mention goes to Aquilegia ‘Ruby Port’ which was used in the floral arch at the entrance to the show, in the container displays of the trade stand and to beautiful effect in the ethereal grassland of the Morris & Co Garden by Ruth Willmott, where the dark wine red color blends with the Papaver somniferum Opium poppy ‘Black Peony’.

May is peak time for peony blooms, so no Chelsea would be complete without a good spread of these early summer stunners. While the familiar ice cream pink and tissue paper ruffles of the classic ‘Sarah Bernhardt’ were not so popular this year, designers used peonies with more open blooms, such as Paeonia itoh ‘Callie’s Memory’ and the ‘Dark Eyes’ which are more into respecting wildlife-friendly plantings.

Peonies also looked great in planters, where their more formal look contrasted with airy meadow-style companions and salvias, which is a great combination for a container of perennials.

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