Missing collections campaign 2024

23rd June, 2024

Plant Heritage has published a brand-new ‘Missing Collections’ list, highlighting 15 environmentally friendly plant groups that aren’t currently part of a National Plant Collection. Without someone to care for them, they’re at risk of being lost if they fall out of fashion or are no longer available from nurseries.  To ensure this doesn’t happen, we are calling for passionate gardeners across the country to consider starting a National Plant Collection to protect one of the plant groups on the list.

This year all 15 plant groups listed have a hugely important environmental value, with many providing a fundamental source of nectar for pollinators large and small. These include Agastache (relatives of sage and mint which are a magnet for bees and hoverflies), Argyranthemum (large daisy shaped flowers which boast a long blooming season, perfect for pollinators), Caryopteris (fluffy blue-purple shrubs which are one of the most important plants for wildlife in late summer and are usually buzzing with bees and butterflies) and Phlomis (whose seed heads are a key food source for goldfinches and siskins come autumn). Some of the plants on this year’s Missing Collections 2024* list will be showcased on Plant Heritage’s stand PH117a at RHS Hampton Court Palace Garden Festival in early July.

To view the full list, visit:

Gwen Hines, CEO at Plant Heritage, says: “Recognising plants that aren’t currently protected by being part of a National Plant Collection is hugely important. Many people may not realise that plants considered to be thriving might actually be at risk in the future if they don’t become part of an ongoing conservation scheme today.”

“Since 2016 we’ve highlighted many different plants that need a forever home and I’m thrilled that 12 different collections have been set up as a result, including hollyhocks and Hoya. Most recently, a collection of fragrant Daphne was accredited in March and now thrives at RHS Garden Wisley having previously been listed as a Missing Collection. It is now safe, and we hope that other plants on this year’s list will become part of a National Plant Collection soon too.”

There are over 700 different National Plant Collections in the UK containing over 95,000 plants, from garden favourites such as bright dahlias and fragrant roses, to edible herbs and photogenic houseplants. The majority are created and cared for by individuals, but specialist plant nurseries, gardening groups, botanical gardens and other organisations such as heritage estates, universities and even zoos also hold collections. Each collection ensures that a huge diversity of plants are kept alive, and in doing so form a vital resource which can help us adapt to and mitigate against the challenges of climate change.

Gwen adds: “Collections are much more accessible than we think. Anyone can be a collection holder – you don’t need to have a huge garden or acres of space, we only ask that you have a passion for plants and conservation. We have some stunning collections held inside homes, greenhouses and conservatories, showing that collections can be successful anywhere.”

The full Missing Collections 2024:

  1. Agastache: Relatives of sage and mint, these up-and-coming plants are best suited to sunny, well drained borders and are magnet for larger pollinators such as bees and hoverflies.
  2. Argyranthemum: Often grown in pots, their large daisy shaped flowers add bursts of colour from late spring to the first frosts. Their long blooming season attracts a range of pollinators too, including honeybees.
  3. Baptisia: These sumptuous, upright blooms are relatively easy to grow, with some drought tolerance. A favourite with bees, large hoverflies and other insects.
  4. Caryopteris: Best in a sunny border or gravel garden with free-draining soil, these fluffy blue-purple flowers are striking in late summer and early autumn, providing late-season nectar for butterflies and bees.
  5. Clethra: Also known as Summersweet, these fragrant flowers and their nectar attract a wide variety of butterflies and songbirds in the summer, and seeds in winter.
  6. Coreopsis: This low maintenance plant is suitable in beds, borders and containers. Its aster-like flowers add yellow, pink, cream and red tones, attracting an array of insects.
  7. Gaillardia: Known as Blanket Flowers for their masses of richly coloured, daisy-like flowers in vivid shades of red, yellow and orange. Perfect for a wildlife garden, they bloom from late spring to early autumn and appeal to butterflies, bees, beetles and birds for their seeds.
  8. Ligularia: Another daisy-like flower, these imposing herbaceous perennials are ideal in boggy areas and alongside water features, and cater well for butterflies, bees and hoverflies.
  9. Lysimachia: Related to Primula and Lythrum, they thrive in full sun if the soil remains moist. They form upright dense spikes with yellow or white flowers, and their pollen and nectar attracts many species. Some types also produce floral oils which attract loosestrife bees.
  10. Origanum: Native to the Mediterranean these aromatic plants are perfect in a drought tolerant garden or rock garden, or in a sunny border. They are an outstanding source of nectar and pollen and are often covered in an array of butterflies and the tiny mint moth.
  11. Osteospermum: Also known as Cape Daisy or African Daisy, these long-lasting colourful flowers are beautiful from summer to autumn. Another favourite with pollinators.
  12. Phlomis: These herbaceous perennials and evergreen shrubs are tolerant of dry soils and thrive in sunshine. Their seed heads provide food for birds and make an interesting winter garden feature, too.
  13. Philadelphus: Mock Orange are tall shrubs with rich citrus-scented flowers in early summer. Perfect as a bountiful backdrop to roses with its masses of white flowers, they not only look beautiful but are very easy to grow as they adapt well to most soil types.
  14. Potentilla (herbaceous): This huge but recognisable genus flowers from late spring through to autumn. It’s a favourite of many pollinators and is one of the known food sources for the larvae of the rare grizzled skipper butterfly.
  15. Verbascum: With their distinctive, upright spires of flowers, these pretty perennials (or biennials) – which come in white, yellow, orange, blue or purple – are great for bees, hoverflies and moths.

eg: plant genus, common name, county, collection holder name.