RHS plans indoor flower show after ‘gardening boom’ in cities | Houseplants

The UK’s first entirely indoor flower show, aimed at people in urban areas with little to no outdoor space, is to be put on by the Royal Horticultural Society next year.

In April, the organisers behind the Chelsea flower show will aim to reach a new generation of gardeners who may have been put off from horticulture by a lack of opportunity.

While Chelsea flower show is held in the peaceful, leafy confines of the Royal Hospital gardens, this event will be held in Manchester at the abandoned rail station Depot Mayfield, home of the Warehouse Project superclub.

The RHS hopes to transform it “into an urban grower’s paradise full of small-space gardening inspiration” with an industrial, indoor, city centre location and immersive experience designed for those who live in cities.

The show aims to inspire more people to garden, in particular those who would not usually as they do not have access to much green space. It will aim to display creative and beautiful ways to get involved with horticulture at home, in small urban spaces. Content is still being developed and growers and exhibitors can still get involved in the event.

Show organisers said features on display would include design inspiration for small city spaces, such as vertical gardening and urban farming along with immersive plant installations, gardening workshops, and a selection of plant nurseries selling houseplants and plants suitable for small spaces.

Helena Pettit, director of gardens and shows at the RHS, said: “In recent years there’s been a real gardening boom and we now have more younger people who live in cities growing plants.”

She said the RHS chose Manchester because there had been much work done to make the city greener. Manchester is notably short of green space but in recent years a viaduct has been developed into a “sky park” and last year the first new city centre public park for 100 years was opened.

Pettit said: “There is so much great work already happening across the city to make it greener and we are excited to help support this growing movement. We want to get even more people living in the UK’s second-largest city inspired to grow plants and connect to the natural world.

“With over 80% of the UK population living in towns and cities, the new show will enable more urban dwellers to garden, especially where access to green spaces can be limited.”

While historically, flower shows have displayed aspirational gardens full of costly water features and dazzling plant displays mostly suitable for large spaces, in recent years they have tried to become more inclusive.

This year’s Chelsea flower show featured a balcony gardening competition, with designers urged to showcase gardening in small spaces, and previous years have included houseplant and succulent sections. Show gardens at Chelsea are also now moved to schools and hospitals, allowing them to be enjoyed by people who perhaps do not have green space at home.

A Victorian tiled fireplace surrounded by a selection of healthy green houseplants in pots.
The event will feature a selection of plant nurseries selling houseplants and plants suitable for small spaces. Photograph: Maggie Sully/Alamy

Best houseplants for different locations in the home, according to the RHS

Houseplants for high light levels, such as a sunny conservatory or south-facing windowsill

  • Spider plants

  • Thread agave

  • Cape jasmine

  • Benjamin fig tree

  • Elephant’s foot

Houseplants for lower light levels such as north-facing windowsills and shaded conservatories

  • Umbrella plant

  • Ivy

  • African violet

  • Metal-leaf begonia

  • Swiss-cheese plant

Houseplants for bathrooms that can deal with lower temperatures and higher humidity

  • Grape ivy

  • Maidenhair fern

  • Pink quill

  • Bird’s nest fern

  • Strawberry saxifrage