Like wearable fashion, the floral industry acts and reacts based on factors as observable as global economics and buying patterns to those as fleeting as what’s trending on Instagram.
And while it’s impossible to know exactly what varieties will catch the floral consumer’s fancy over the coming five years, there are current trends that can offer suggestions about how wholesalers and retailers can plan ahead.
A few major contributors are behind this look forward. First, millennial consumers have created a shift in the market to providing the building blocks for new and different home arrangements. According to PMA research, these consumers are highly influenced by both social media and a DIY aesthetic (often fed, hand-in-glove, by image-centric sites like Pinterest and Instagram). They want to recreate in their own homes what they see portrayed on the screens of their devices and require the basic elements to do so. Floral wholesalers and retailers are challenged with keeping up and providing those ingredients.
The second contributor is the growth of the “farmer-florist.” Much like the farm-to-table movement, in which restaurant menus reflect produce and meats locally and seasonally available to a restaurant, farmer-florists incorporate locally grown flowers into arrangements that frequently break the rules of what we’re used to seeing from traditional florists and floral delivery services.
The third contributor is social media itself, which helps spread contemporary trends among consumers more than any general interest print magazine or trade publication ever could. The short story is that if it’s hot on social media, sooner or later someone will request it in your store.
That said, here are some varieties with significant growth potential over the next five years.
Peonies: No shrinking violets, the oversized blossoms of peonies demand attention, whether as part of a bouquet or sold as cut flowers. As part of an arrangement, peonies require only the bare minimum of accessorizing.
“Old-fashioned” flowers: Sometimes more likely to be found in Mom’s or Grandmom’s flower gardens, varieties like chrysanthemums, zinnias, sweet peas and dahlias are emerging as the varieties of choice by consumers and floral designers hewing to the locally-sourced tendencies of the farmer-florist movement. This category also includes varieties that don’t normally come to mind when thinking of modern arrangements – foraged wildflowers, small ferns, seed pods and other unexpected embellishments that speak to a simpler, less fussy aesthetic.
Air plants and succulents: Native to the American Southwest, these desert-loving plants have long been popular to the region as great landscaping options for those who don’t want to try to grow a lush grass lawn where water is precious and summer temperatures regularly top 100 degrees. Lately, though, wholesalers have begun to package these low-maintenance plants for individual sale as part of interior décor. While many millennials relish the DIY trend, others are looking for minimal upkeep from their houseplants, and these varieties offer a perfect option. They’re sturdy, require little water and provide visual interest with their unusual leaf shapes and blooms.