The most popular flower of 2021, revealed

The flower that all gardeners want this year – plus, the flowers that are no longer so popular

Vibrant pink and white summer flowering Cosmos flowers in soft summer sunshine
(Image credit: Jacky Parker Photography/Getty)

The most popular flower of 2021 has been revealed, and it's refreshingly simple and vivid. According to brand-new research, gardeners have cast their preference for cosmos – a fuss-free, bright flower that looks stunning as part of any natural-looking garden planting scheme. 

One of the best plants for beginners, cosmos is typically an annual, although the more dramatic Chocolate Cosmos is a perennial. Whichever variety you're growing, you are in good company. 

Cosmos flowers in late summer English garden

(Image credit: Rosemary Calvert/Getty)

Research by Flowercard reveals that cosmos has had a huge spike in searches over the past year – over half a million more than in 2020, in fact. We can only speculate why this particular flower is experiencing such a revival, but it's likely that an overall increase in interest in wildlife garden ideas has something to do with it. 

Cosmos doesn't require much maintenance or watering and is one of the best bee-friendly plants. It is easily grown from seed and doesn't require buying as a plug plant in a plastic pot. It doesn't really require pruning and is resistant to pests, which will come as a relief to gardeners who keep losing flowering plants to slugs, for example. So long as you protect them while they're young, mature cosmos tend to thrive pest-free.

Close-up of pink cosmos flowers in field

(Image credit: saka / 500px/Getty)

Of course, the attractive signature pink of the cosmos flower is also a big draw. Bright blooms, in fact, rule this year's list of the most-searched-for flowers, with narcissus, dahlias, and hydrangeas dominating. These are all traditional flowers that work well as part of cottage garden ideas, a style of garden design that is firmly back in fashion. It's especially interesting to think that hydrangeas were deeply unpopular only a decade or so ago when they were associated with unexciting suburban gardens. 

On the other hand, the less spectacular blooms of the mayflower and echinacea are showing a decline in popularity, along with the wild rose, likely outshone by the more dramatic hybrid rose offerings by David Austin and others. Brighter, bigger blooms are in vogue, while more modest blooms are less so, not least because they don't look quite as attractive in Instagram photos. 

At the end of the day, though, preferences for flowers are highly subjective. Grow what you like and what looks good to you in your flowerbeds, regardless of trends. 

Anna Cottrell
Anna Cottrell

Anna is a keen urban gardener, with David Austin roses and Japanese acers among her favourite plants. She moved into the world of interiors from academic research in the field of literature and urban space a couple of years ago. She's always been interested in how people make houses into homes, and how our concepts of what's stylish change over time.