Lifestyle Plants Are in Full Bloom for Consumers

Calla from Flamingo Holland
Callas come in a range of colors and can be enjoyed indoors during colder months and set out on the deck for the summer. Image courtesy of Flamingo Holland.

It’s hard to imagine blooming potted plants ever falling out of favor in everyday living trends. Nowadays, robust blooms often take center stage in indoor and outdoor displays. That doesn’t mean, however, consumers are satisfied with any old flower. On the contrary, people know what they want more than ever. Here’s what growers need to know about the latest decorative trends and how to position their plants to capitalize on luxury-item sales.

Picking the Right Potted Plants

Consumers have spoken: Hassle-free plants reign supreme in indoor and outdoor decorating. Alongside plants consumers have long connected with — dipladenia, mums, mandevilla, roselilies, cyclamen, and hibiscus — experts say this desire has catapulted some non-traditional blooming potted plants to the forefront of the trend, especially indoors.

“Succulents are all the rage right now,” says Mariah Holland, Metrolina Greenhouses’ Director of Marketing. “Consumers want easy, low-maintenance items, and many succulents fit that bill perfectly.”

Beyond these drought-tolerant favorites, the easy-living trend has become increasingly popular. In addition to succulents, experts say orchids, hydrangeas, and anthuriums offer customers big blooms for their bucks without requiring a ton of plant-care prowess. This indoor trend has also taken hold in outdoor spaces.

Calandiva kalanchoes (Dümmen Orange) Feature
Blooming potted plants such as Calandiva kalanchoes (Dümmen Orange) are great indoor plants for autumn and winter color.

“People are enthralled with the unorthodox beauty of succulents paired with bright colors from flowering plants like kalanchoes, orchids, and tropicals,” says Tanner Cole, Dümmen Orange’s Marketing and Trial Coordinator.

“Consumers appreciate the versatility of potted plants that they can enjoy indoors during drab winter months before transitioning them to outdoor spaces during the summer.”

Other consumers have begun looking for ways to maximize their impact in a smaller footprint. The experts at Dümmen Orange see consumers flocking to vertical gardens that stack plants on one another, but that’s only one way to save space.

“‘Small and beautiful’ has been the potted plant trend I have seen at the most recent international shows for both indoor and outdoor decorating,” says Jim Berry, Owner of J Berry Nursery. “Consumers are looking for instant gratification, and the spaces they are decorating are getting smaller.”

Hollywood Hibiscus Bad Boy (J Berry Nursery)
Consumers want plants that are suitable for smaller spaces. J. Berry Nursery is doubling down on its new low-maintenance Hollywood Hibiscus Collection, which accommodates consumers’ climate and space restrictions. Pictured: ‘Hollywood Hibiscus Bad Boy’

Positioning Your Products

For growers seeking to cash in on the latest trends at retail, having the right plants in a product line-up won’t be enough. The plants need to be positioned in a way that prompts more luxury item sales. There’s some debate about what works best.

“Location, location, location” is a common refrain, as is an emphasis on color blocking or putting plants with similar hues together.

Many experts believe point-of-purchase (POP) materials are more important than ever before.

“Be obvious,” Holland says. “Call out new items, and get consumers excited while they are in stores. Often, they are just learning about something new when they walk in the door, and a little POP (point of purchase) or encouragement can be the motivation to buy.”

With the rise of social media, consumers are also finding inspiration online. Jillanne Johnson, Kurt Weiss Greenhouses’ Live Goods Purchaser, says growers need to pay attention to the plant displays people like and share.

“Sometimes it is important to keep an open mind,” she says. “Pilea peperomoides is trending big time on Pinterest and Etsy. From a grower perspective, I wouldn’t give it a second look.

“It has all of the qualities that we would think a consumer wouldn’t want in that it has a stretched habit and a limited number of leaves. Yet rooted plantlets are selling for $30 and a 4-inch plant is available for $70. To be able to sell a 4-inch foliage plant for $70 — that is luxury!”

Focus on Varieties That Work for Everyone

As consumers continue to be drawn to big blooms, bright colors, and long-lasting potted plants that deliver a wow-factor, growers need to pay attention to what’s coming down the pike, but while new varieties can be exciting and present unique opportunities, Johnson cautions growers against focusing too much on the latest offerings.

“Honestly, it isn’t always the new varieties that excite me unless it is really something different,” she says. “These days, it is all about very concise packaging and marketing concepts that are easy to replicate and scale to the size of the customers that we have. At California Spring Trials, the growers are the consumers, and we are looking for wins that are easy, achievable, and translate into wins for our customers.”

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