Plant varieties with smaller, simpler flowers are better able to cope with flooding and drought, a study by University of Sheffield and Royal Horticultural Society finds.

The findings suggest that those plants that dedicate less energy to producing large and colourful flowers are better able to withstand the extreme conditions associated with the climate crisis, and offer guidance to gardeners and landscape designers looking to create more resilient green spaces.

Dr Ross Cameron, Senior Lecturer in Landscape Management, Ecology and Design at the University of Sheffield, who led the project, said: “This is not simply a case of species being better than cultivated hybrids, as our Primula Cottage Cream plants outperformed other native Primula species used within the study. Rather, the results seem to relate more to the amount of energy plants invest in flowers.