Pandemic Plants – varieties with health benefits

As lockdown restrictions continue across the UK, an online garden centre has seen record sales on four plants all known to have medicinal properties.

Gardening Express has seen sales increase by as much as almost 3000% on certain varieties as customers flock to buy plants with known health benefits.

Echinacea has been particularly popular with sales up by 2895% with over 20,000 units sold in the last three months alone.

The plant is said to ward off flus and coronaviruses with the roots and leaves used in herbal tablets.

Other big sellers include Green Tea Plants, up by 1689%, Ginkgo up 585% and Sambucus seeing an increase of 869%.

Green Tea Plants are thought to contain antioxidant properties and boost the immune system, Ginkgo also contains antioxidants and Sambucus is packed with vitamin C.

Chris Bonnett from said: “We’ve had a very busy year and are continuing to see sales increase despite the slight easing of restrictions.

“September this year was up 200% on the same time last year but interestingly the types of plants that are selling well has changed.

“We’re seeing an increased demand for plants with medicinal properties and health benefits. It seems like customers are looking for natural ways to boost their immune system and remain healthy as lockdown restrictions continue.”

Here are the Gardening Express bestsellers:



Echinacea has been a traditional herbal remedy since the 18th century, originally used for pain relief and snake bites. Now it’s said to be used to ward off colds, strains of flu and coronaviruses.

It works by stimulating the immune system and giving it an additional boost, as well as working as an anti-inflammatory inside the body.

This perennial is also a beautiful addition to the garden with scented daisy like blooms which flower from June to the first frosts. They’ll grow in most soils although will thrive in well-drained soil in full sun.

Green tea plants


Green tea plants, or Camellia Sinensis are packed with health giving properties. Enjoyed as a tea, it can boost the immune system and protect against viruses. Other possible benefits may include boosting brain function, increasing fat loss, lowering the risk of heart disease and reducing bad breath. 

This is an attractive plant to take centre stage in your garden. During Spring the slender stems are covered in masses of white flowers with huge yellow stamens.



Ginkgo is a hardy plant, famed as an herbal supplement by the ancient Chinese and has been grown for thousands of years.

Extract from the leaves is said to contain powerful antioxidants and help fight inflammation. Other health claims include improving circulation and heart health, improving brain function and well-being, treating headaches and migraines and reducing anxiety.

These trees live for years. The unusual spring foliage is light green, turning into a dazzling yellow during the Autumn. Prune regularly and this plant is a beautiful shrub or backdrop to a herbaceous border.



It’s the berries on Sambucus which are packed with health benefits. They’re packed with antioxidants and vitamins which can give your immune system a boost. Other suggested benefits include easing inflammation, reducing stress and protecting your heart.

This striking plant has dramatic, almost black leaves with creamy pink buds and flowers from May to June. In the autumn, the plant is adorned with blackish, red berries.

It will thrive in most soils, in sun or partial shard and will withstand frost and wind damage. It works as a dramatic addition to a main planting scheme or even as a hedge.

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