What’s New With Blooming Potted Plants

Mini orchids at Longwood Gardens
Mini pots with petite plants to fit in them are hot gift plant items. They’re easy to display and a great impulse item for consumers to pop in their carts.

Blooming potted plants are the gift that grows. While some new selections cater to the mini market, others feature big-size blooms with novelty patterns, and stand out in combinations with other plant categories. With the variety of blooming potted plants available on the market right now, there is no end to the possibilities for mixed containers, which is good news for growers as it creates opportunities for year-round sales.

Bigger May Not Be Better

Orchids, hydrangeas, roses, gerberas, and other blooms downsized to fit mini pots are in high demand. Their lower price point and less intimidating size give them an advantage over larger plants. They display easily next to a cash register or on an end-cap shelf, where consumers can pop them into an overfilled cart on an impulse. The same goes for the home. Mini plants work just about anywhere.

“Mini pots are hot, with more items available for them such as mini callas or orchids,” says Robin van der Schaff, General Manager at Flamingo Holland USA. “Consumers are using them for everything from placecard settings to accents in the family room.”

Offering mini plants in groups can increase sales. Collectors love mini flowering plants, and decorators like to group similar objects by theme or color. At the IPM Essen show, collections of magnetic mini pots filled with succulents and flowering plants were a big hit. Bay City Flower Co., based in Half Moon Bay, CA, marketed in this way at Cultivate’16, featuring an assortment of Hana Bay Petites that included consumer favorites like hydrangeas, kalanchoe, jasmine, and succulents in designer mini pots.

Schoeneveld’s collection of cyclamen ranges from micro to larger sizes. This year, growers can choose from the compact, small-leaved Verano for early season, transition to Carino in the fall, and finish off in winter with the robust Mini.

Ch. Morel added some new colors and a mix to its Smartiz line. Smartiz cyclamen adapt easily to micro size and have a quick turn at 27 weeks. Ch. Morel also debuted the Abanico series with fan-shaped, fringed petals at California Spring Trials (CAST), and the large-flowered variety, ‘Halios HD White.’ HD stands for high density , meaning more plants per square foot. Supersize blooms are a growing trend with cyclamens, and we can expect to see more of them in the future.

Streptocarpus Ladyslippers Grape Ice (Green Fuse Botanicals)
Streptocarpus ‘Ladyslippers Grape Ice’ (Green Fuse Botanicals), a new bicolor cultivar with leaves similar to those of an orchid, is a new introduction for growing on a windowsill or in a patio container.

If One Color Is Good, Two Is Better

For larger-size flowering plants, bicolor, spattered, and splashed blooms offer a distinctive novelty look for consumers. The Optimara Group displayed a new add-on to its bicolor MyViolet series at Cultivate’16 named ‘MySensation,’ which has yellowish-green flowers and a prolonged bloom period and shelf life. This follows an increasing trend that has reinvigorated African Violets, as more bicolor and color-spattered varieties are coming on the market.

At Week 24 Flower Trials, Schoneveld introduced the Picanto Series, a vintage-style primula with unusual bicolor flowers. The series has a long flower life and comes in three colors: Red, Lime, and Blue.

Streptocarpus ‘Ladyslippers Grape Ice’ joined Green Fuse Botanicals Lifestyle Plants collection this year. Bicolor blooms, similar to those of an orchid, draw the eye with streaks of dark purple that stand out against a creamy-white background. Lifestyle Plants grow on a kitchen windowsill equally as well as they grow in a patio container.

Kieft Seed’s Gerbera Revolution Series claims three new bicolors, including a unique color to the market, Red Lemon. Gerberas convey cheerfulness and good will, which is why they remain popular gift plants. With sizes ranging from mini to large garden-type varieties, they add a whimsical touch to pots and height to containers. In addition to the Revolution gerberas, Sakata Ornamentals’ new Majorette Gerbera Series is hard to miss with its bright, bold colors and uniform size.

Combinations Blend Potted Bloomers With Thrill And Spill

Florist Holland has partnered with Westhoff to produce combinations of annuals with gerberas in the middle, marketing them as a Mingle With Garvinea concept for mixed containers. Its new orange and yellow-tipped ‘Sweet Caroline’ adds height in mixed containers.

The company also has other new options for mixed containers, such as Roselily Liza and Calla Memories, and an exciting new series of pot dianthus called Flow. These are just a few of the options in the blooming potted plants category suitable for combinations with traditional annuals, tropicals, and succulents.

Green Valley Greenhouse in Ramsey, MN, uses blooming potted plants in combos and gives potted bloomers an upgrade with decorative containers. Director of Sales and Marketing Jesse Guldseth says these strategies have been very successful for the company.

Eucomis and succulent container at Cultivate'16
The Aloha Lily Eucomis (Golden State Bulb Growers) is an unusual pick for a blooming potted plant that adds height, texture, and thrill to containers.

Calla breeder Golden State Bulb Growers showcased new introductions like ‘Callafornia Strawberry Blush’ and ‘Callafornia Peach Pazazz’ at CAST, while showing callas’ versatility when mixed in containers with other plants. ‘Peach Pazazz’ has peach-colored flowers that intensify with age, and ‘Strawberry Blush’ has large, blushing-pink flowers on strong stems.

“Combo containers have been on trend for the last few years. Callas have become a key ingredient to use in them,” says Ashley Nally, Retail Sales and Marketing Manager for Golden State Bulb Growers. “The beauty is that once the blooms go dormant, the consumer is left with attractive foliage with spots or colored leaves.”

Speaking of callas, Kapiteyn has an innovative marketing concept to sell them — lure consumers with scent. The company infuses its calla pots with Chanel No. 5, with the objective of attracting consumers’ attention with a familiar scent when they shop.

Golden State Bulb also carries an unusual pick for blooming potted plant production that adds height, texture, and thrill to mixed containers. It’s a tough plant that works well for container mixes indoors or outdoors.

“The Aloha Lily Eucomis is a low-input crop that is pollinator friendly. Aloha Lily blooms are pleasantly fragrant and last for up to three months,” Nally says.

Container mixes of different colors of the same genera are also popular. Sakata Ornamentals’ new Cyclamen Picasso Flamed Mix and Neon Pink Mix have colors that can combine well on their own or when mixed with other varieties. And Flamingo Holland’s Lily Jumping For Joy and Overjoyed Series offer color mix options for Asiatic lilies, which include the new On Cloud Nine Mix.

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