Spotting Plant Trends At Spring Trials [Opinion]

Robin Siktberg

It’s easy to get lost among the dozens of new geraniums, baskets of calibrachoas and verbenas and hundreds of petunias, coleus, alyssums, gerberas, mums and more at Spring Trials. By the time I got to the last stop, it was beginning to blend together into one big calipetunigerbamum.

But in all seriousness, it was so impressive to see the outstanding genetics and beautifully grown plants, all presented by breeders who are genuinely passionate about the plants they offer. By the end of the trip, however,
some trends had become apparent among the plethora of
new plants.

First, there were more edibles than ever, with breeders telling me they plan to keep increasing the category. Some were bringing in genetics from their food production divisions to make the plants or seeds available to the home market for the first time. Others were developing plants specifically for small-space gardening, designed to be compatible with patio culture, with ornamental qualities as well. There’s room for both types in the ever-increasing market for locally grown food.

Another trend, a personal favorite, was the number of variably variegated flowers — primarily in the petunia category. In the past, these plants might have been discarded for their lack of uniformity, but I’m glad to see this is no longer the case. Consumers are looking for the unique and different; the unpredictability of each flower being different from the other will surely have appeal.
Bicolor flowers in general were very popular, with several companies telling us that their consumer research is showing a consumer preference for bicolors. I have to say, I am one of them — I found myself drawn to the bicolors everywhere I stopped.

Lastly, there was an obvious awareness that it is more important than ever to make purchasing plants less intimidating for consumers. MasterTag’s People’s Choice POP display and PanAmerican’s Think Outside the Pack programs both aim to make consumers more comfortable with their plant purchasing decisions. (See page 49 for more on these programs.) And mixed combinations were everywhere. From large patio containers to hanging basket combos to retail displays that encourage novice gardeners to create combinations from a pre-selected group of plants, breeders wereaiming to alleviate consumers’ fear of failure and
help them make decisions about what plants they like.

However, after seeing all the new plants at Trials, when I go plant shopping next spring, the decision will be easy for me. I’ll have one calipetunigerbamum, please.

Leave a Reply

More From Varieties...
Sedum-Pillow-Talk

February 20, 2018

12 New Poinsettias and Succulents for Holiday Sales, Crafting, and Landscaping

Poinsettias and succulents are both in-demand products with today’s consumers. Here’s a look at some of the newer introductions available for retail sales in 2018 and 2019.

Read More
Pepper-Mexican-Sunset

February 19, 2018

All-America Selections Names Latest Variety Winner, Announces New Display Gardens and Judges

All-America Selections (AAS), the 85-year-young non-profit plant trialing organization, had a very busy month of January.

Read More

February 6, 2018

20 Trends That Dominated at TPIE

If you're looking to stay on top of the current trends to stay ahead of the competition and increase value to your clients by helping them stay at the forefront of their industry, check out some of the new products and ideas we saw trending at TPIE this year.

Read More
Latest Stories
Sedum-Pillow-Talk

February 20, 2018

12 New Poinsettias and Succulents for Holiday Sales, Cr…

Poinsettias and succulents are both in-demand products with today’s consumers. Here’s a look at some of the newer introductions available for retail sales in 2018 and 2019.

Read More
Pepper-Mexican-Sunset

February 19, 2018

All-America Selections Names Latest Variety Winner, Ann…

All-America Selections (AAS), the 85-year-young non-profit plant trialing organization, had a very busy month of January.

Read More

February 6, 2018

20 Trends That Dominated at TPIE

If you're looking to stay on top of the current trends to stay ahead of the competition and increase value to your clients by helping them stay at the forefront of their industry, check out some of the new products and ideas we saw trending at TPIE this year.

Read More

February 4, 2018

2017 University of Wisconsin Field Trial Results

Check out the 2017 field trials results for the University of Wisconsin's West Madison Ag Research Station display gardens in Verona, WI.

Read More

February 2, 2018

2017 Cincinnati Zoo & Botanical Garden Field Trials…

Check out the 2017 field trials results for the Cincinnati Zoo & Botanical Garden in Ohio.

Read More
Youngs-Plant-Farm-Landscape-bed

January 31, 2018

2017 Young’s Plant Field Trials Results

Check out the field trials results for Young’s Plant Farm in Auburn, AL.

Read More

January 30, 2018

Grow High-Quality ‘Lyra’ and ‘Mirage&…

Syngenta Flowers' Technical Services Manager Karl Trellinger gives production recommendations for growing high-quality 'Lyra' and 'Mirage' poinsettias.

Read More
Poinsettia-Mirage-Red-Syngenta-Flowers

January 30, 2018

Growing Tips for ‘Mirage’ and ‘Lyra’ Poinsettias

Both varieties are easy to grow without any special requirements, can handle all climates, and perform well under low light conditions.

Read More
Welby-container-trials

January 29, 2018

2017 Welby Gardens Field Trials Results

Check out the 2017 field trial results for Welby Gardens in Denver, CO.

Read More
Ornamental pepper 'Sedona Sun'

January 28, 2018

2017 University of Tennessee Field Trials Results

Check out the 2017 field trial results for the University of Tennessee Gardens in Jackson, TN.

Read More
Zinnia-Magellan-Orange

January 27, 2018

2017 University of Minnesota Field Trials Results

Check out the 2017 field trial results for The University of Minnesota West Central Research and Outreach Center Horticulture Display Garden in Morris, MN.

Read More
Scaevola-Surdiva-Blue-Violet

January 25, 2018

2017 Pike Creek Horticulture Center Field Trials Result…

Check out the 2017 field trial results for the Pike Creek Horticulture Center, Gateway Technical College in Kenosha, WI.

Read More
Raker calibrachoa trial

January 24, 2018

2017 Raker-Roberta’s Young Plants Field Trial Res…

Check out the 2017 field trial results for Raker-Roberta's Young Plants in Litchfield, MI.

Read More
2018 Costa Open House

January 23, 2018

2018 Costa Open House: Standout Plants and Products

See what plants and products caught our eye at the Costa Farms open house in Miami, FL.

Read More
shade-trials-OKSU

January 22, 2018

2017 Oklahoma State University Field Trials Results

Check out the 2017 field trial results for Oklahoma State University in Oklahoma City, OK.

Read More
Pennisetum-Feathertop_Feature-Image_NDSU

January 21, 2018

2017 North Dakota State University Field Trials

Check out the 2017 field trial results for North Dakota State University Department of Plant Sciences in Fargo, ND.

Read More
Mixture-of-Begonia-Megawatt-and-Whopper-series_OSU

January 19, 2018

2017 The Ohio State University Field Trial Results

Check out the 2017 field trial results for The Ohio State University/Chadwick Arboretum in Columbus, OH.

Read More
Sedeveria-Lilac-Mist-feature

January 19, 2018

Hot-Selling Succulents Remain Hip, With No End in Sight

Succulents continue to fascinate people of all ages and gardening abilities. Perhaps that’s because they still have the right stuff to attract attention.

Read More