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A taste of things to come; Check out horticultural Holland for latest trends.

s with the fashion industry, the various strands of the gardening business present their new lines to buyers more than three months in advance of them arriving in store.

AI took myself off to Aalsmeer in Holland this month to take a look at the trends for indoor gardening which we could all be enjoying next year. Aalsmeer is the largest trading centre for plants and flowers in the world and it's where the famous flower auctions are held daily.

While fashionistas flock to the catwalks of Milan and Paris, trend-seeking gardeners head to Holland, the horticultural epicentre of Europe. So here's my guide to what's hot for 2018...

CARNIVOROUS PLANTS FOR KIDS With many kids hooked on scary stories such as Stranger Things, what better way to feed fertile imaginations than with one of the various carnivorous plants.

Many are sold in child-friendly form - easy-tocare-for packs often in the form of small enclosed plastic greenhouses. Most like a moist environment with their bases cuddled by a little bit of moss. The Venus flytrap can be tricked into shutting its jaw-like leaves by tickling its innards with a cocktail stick.

CATCH ON TO CACTI Cacti and succulents must be the easiest of all plants to look after, which may explain their massive popularity today. Their natural environment is tough - they bake in sunshine during the day but often endure plummeting temperatures at night and go for long periods of drought, so are fairly indestructible.

They're great for getting children interested in gardening. The collections I liked most were small ones in cute pots. On-trend plants include Haworthia, Echeveria, Crassula, Euphorbia, Pincushion cacti (Mammillaria) and Aloe.

Low maintenance: Cacti are very easy to look after GLAZE IS THE CRAZE The rustic look is in. I spied some nice crackled glazes for big earthy-looking heavy clay pots, perfect for one giant specimen a collection of smaller beauties.

OK TO ORCHIDS Orchids were everywhere - from the smaller varieties to multi-stemmed beauties, either in rich pinks or the purest of whites. If you're planning on buying one indoor plant this year, make it an orchid.

QUIRKY VASES Fun can be had with quirky plant receptacles. I spotted these hares wearing gerberas and also smiley face pots representing our emoji culture. Demonstrating a sense of humour while COFFEE TIME We drink gallons of the stuff without necessarily knowing much about the plant.

I had great pleasure in visiting a coffee plantation in Costa Rica some years ago and I marvelled at the beauty of the plant.

Now it's arriving mainstream - lush dark green growth is being marketed as an indoor ornamental. It won't produce the coffee beans, but it will give you a great talking point with your friends.

JUNGLE STYLE If you want to have a stylish abode, greenery is back with a vengeance. The theme, as with fashion and interior design, is tropical and jungle.

Jungle-style houseplants, such as Monstera with its trademark Swiss cheese holes, philodendrons and fiddleleaf figs are certainly the look of 2018. Remember no over or underwatering. Keep them in a bright place, but out of direct sunlight, in as steady a temperature as possible.

PUT ON AIRS Tillandsia, also known as air plants, grow without soil in their natural environment - they attach themselves to trees and absorb water and nutrients from the air through their leaves.

This gives great scope for displays indoors as you can attach them to driftwood, coral, sea shells or simply put them in glass containers.

You need to water a couple of times a week and allow them to dry off completely.

ASK DIARMUID Q Hi Diarmuid, this is a picture of two large flowering clematis I have on a west facing fence. They grow but no flowers for the last two years. Why? Hope you can advise.

Colin Button A Hi Colin, Clematis can take a few years to settle in, but yours looks hearty and healthy. When you've too much green foliage and no flowers, avoid nitrogen feeds and give a high potash feed in early spring and keep doing so once a week until flowering. I don't know which varieties you have but unless they are supposed to flower from late June onwards, don't prune them at all in winter or early spring otherwise you will be chopping off the flowering buds.

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Venus flytraps will fascinate young gardeners
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Title Annotation:Features
Publication:Liverpool Echo (Liverpool, England)
Geographic Code:4EUNE
Date:Nov 25, 2017
Words:730
Previous Article:PRIME PROPERTY.
Next Article:Don't let the winter catch you unprepared; JOBS FOR THE WEEK.
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