New plant varieties from US breeders launched at RHS Chelsea Flower Show

We take a closer look at the new plants unveiled at the 2024 Chelsea Flower Show

King Charles at the 2024 RHS Chelsea Flower Show
(Image credit: Future/Jacky Hobbs)

Always at the forefront of garden trends, one of the highlights of the RHS Chelsea Flower Show is the celebration of new plants, which are officially launched at the show.

The latest brand new, inspiring plant varieties compete for the coveted title of 'Plant Of The Year' and, this year, one of the shortlisted varieties was a new daffodil called ‘King Charles’. Its trumpet is almost orange at the tip, shading paler at the base, and its petals are pale yellow with a white central zone – very pretty.

The plants competing for 'Plant Of The Year' have been developed by breeders all over the world, and several unique varieties were created by nurseries in the US. Here, we take a closer look at those plants, what makes them special, and how you can get hold of them to add to your own backyard ideas.

Deep blue iris flowers set in a Japanese garden at Chelsea Flower Show

(Image credit: Future/Jacky Hobbs)

New plant varieties and where to find them

It's always exciting to discover brand new plant varieties, and learn where they were developed. These particular plants, bred in Michigan nurseries, would be well suited to hot climates and desert planting. Read on to find out more. 

1. Agave ‘Praying Hands’

Praying Hands Mangave

(Image credit: One Green World)

One unique and new plant variety was created in Michigan. Placed third in the competition was Mangave (Agave) ‘Praying Hands’, a very striking, but quite small, variety derived from wild species of century plant, or American aloe, that grow naturally in Mexico.

Maturing at only 12in tall and wide, its incurved dark green leaves form a teardrop shape and each leaf is pointed in a red spine which is turned inwards so there’s no danger of a scratch.

‘Praying Hands’ is a fine plant for xeriscapes and warm dry climates. Hardy to zone 9, in colder zones it can be grown in pots of well-drained potting soil and moved into a protected place for winter.

2. Sempervivum 'Gold Mine'

Chick Charms® GIANT Gold Mineppaf succulent

(Image credit: Garden Solutions Plants)

Another fine, but much hardier, succulent plant, developed at a different Michigan nursery by Chris Hansen, also made the shortlist.

The latest in the Chick Charms Giants series, Sempervivum 'Gold Mine', is basically a huge houseleek with rich red coloring at the base of each leaf and a bright yellow coloring at the tips.

Exceptionally hardy to zone 3, ground-hugging stems develop 'chicks' around the edge of the plant so that it slowly spreads. Give it good drainage, and plenty of sun.

New plant varieties for small yards and balconies

Sanctum container garden

(Image credit: RHS/Tim Sandall)

The overall winner of the 'Plant Of The Year' award was a very pretty, white-flowered, early flowering cherry called ‘Starlight’ (US hardiness zone 6), with clusters of flowers like stars. Unfortunately, Starlight has not yet reached North America.

It was noticeable this year how many of the shortlisted new varieties were created to mature as smaller plants, and to stay small - ideal for decks and terraces, or for pots on the steps or for the smallest yards. 

The Starlight cherry reaches just 12ft in ten years, and a dwarf clematis reaching only 4ft was also shortlisted. The third-place Agave ‘Praying Hands’ always stays small.

The dazzling Petunia Nicola ('Kernicola') (US hardiness zone 9) which should be available from Proven Winners next season, is bred to stay compact in hanging baskets and not trail down so that the stems get in the way as new walk past.

The super-scented dwarf Philadelphus 'Petite Perfume White' (US hardiness zone 7), with clouds of small white flowers, is not yet available in the US. We may also have to wait till next year to see the rich blue scabious 'Kudo Blue' (US hardiness zone 4), which is very neat and amazingly prolific – ideal in a deck rail planter.

New plant varieties that are available in the US

Agastache 'Agapk'

(Image credit:

The good news is that some shortlisted Plant Of The Year entries are already available in North America.

Look out for the improved giant hyssop, Agastache Beelicious Pink ('Agapk'), as shown in the image above, and Clematis Guernsey Flute ('Evigsy153'), a fine new variety from the world’s leading clematis breeder.

Giant hyssop Agastache Beelicious Pink (US hardiness zone 6) has crimson spikes speckled with tiny pink flowers that are packed with nectar – it’s a favorite with bees and other pollinators and the foliage is strongly aromatic, with a sharp minty smell.

Clematis Guernsey Flute (US hardiness zone 4) is the latest from renowned clematis breeder Raymond Evison. The huge white flowers are 5in across and carried on plants usually no taller than 4ft. But the great thing is that the individual flowers last far longer than the flowers of other white varieties so the display is more impressive, and over a longer period. Pruning is easy, too – simply cut the whole plant back to 6in in spring.

Look out for all these Chelsea Flower Show Plant of The Year shortlisted varieties as they become available in North America. If the Royal Horticultural Society says that these are good plants, you can depend on them.

Where to buy new plants

Mangave (Agave) ‘Praying Hands’ is available at One Green World.

Sempervivum Gold Mine ('Ggm2022') can be found here at Garden Solutions Plants.

Agastache Beelicious Pink ('Agapk'), is available from 

Clematis Guernsey Flute ('Evigsy153') can be found at Brushwood Nursery. 

Other varieties shortlisted for the award will become available over the next few years.


Where does the RHS Chelsea Flower Show take place?

The Royal Horticultural Society has more members around the world – 600,000 in all – than any other gardening society. King Charles III was recently announced as the Society’s new Patron.

In May of each year, the RHS transforms eleven acres of grounds at London’s veteran’s hospital into the world famous Chelsea Flower Show, visited by almost 160,000 people. Held at Chelsea since 1912, the King toured the show with Queen Camilla earlier this week.

For more on the inspirational planting and garden design at the 2024 Chelsea Flower Show, check out some of the best plants we spotted at the show

Graham Rice
Freelance writer

Graham Rice is a garden writer who has won awards for his work online, and in books and magazines, on both sides of the Atlantic. He is a member of a number of Royal Horticultural Society committees and the recipient of the 2021 Garden Media Guild Lifetime Achievement Award. He gardened in Pennsylvania for 20 years, but has recently returned to his native England.