Flower Trends Change Every Year, Kind of

Fort Davis, Texas sits at the top the Davis Mountains in the Chihuahuan Desert of west Texas. Nearby Presidio, Texas is often the hottest place in the nation, but because Fort Davis is located nearly a mile above sea level, it rarely gets above 90 degrees in the summer. They also get a bit more rain than the surrounding Big Bend area. There are a few ponderosa pines that grow there, and the small mountain springs shelter rare campanulas, columbines and other unexpected gems. Because of the climate, Fort Davis has a bit of tourist trade, limited mostly by the fact that you have to drive for hours through formidable desert to get there. As our kids were growing up, we would often take a camping trip there in the summer.

As production winds down and Indian summer unrelentingly moves into autumn, weddings flourish. In fact, October rivals June as the most important month for weddings, so it’s a good idea to check the trends featured in bridal magazines, web sites, and Pinterest. What colors are requested and what design style of flower adornment is hot? Clothing designers choose colors to define the seasons, but “it colors” come and go in fashion. For example, last spring the hot shade in fashion was yellow, and this winter, the “it” color is purple.

When it comes to flower colors the life span of trendy colors persists for a minimum of two to three years, and often much longer. A mentor of mine told me years ago that rose breeders (and rose growers) make varietal selections today trying to forecast trends five years out. Choosing the “right” color varieties is not about what is popular at the moment, but what is and will remain popular for at least the next few years.

Paint with a Broad BrushAnnual flower crops grant growers more flexibility to shift variety choices to satisfy the latest color and/or texture trends, yellow being a good example. In the past decade, popular shades of strong, clear golden yellow were the rage, but the past few years, butter yellow is the shade preferred. The color blue seems to prevail in any color trend discussions so perhaps consider adding ageratum, centaurea (cornflower), campanula, nigella, anemones or echinops to your 2016 product mix. Orange flowers are now accepted as (almost) a year-round color. Deep purple tones and anything in shades of coral are very hip with trend experts this year.

Color trends are fickle. There are no absolute dictates. The Pantone Color group (CMG) gives guidelines waxing poetic rather than dogmatic: “This season (2015) displays an umbrella of accord that weaves earthy neutrals with a range of bold color statements…to reflect a landscape of hope, fun, fantasy and all things natural.”  No doubt, color preferences vary across the nation–even neighborhood to neighborhood. I see lots less purple hair when I travel in the metro Dallas area compared to strolling my Portland neighborhood.

Another good example is CMG citing India, an important rising world player, as influencing color trends: “…people are finding themselves drawn to colors associated with that country, soothing oranges and yellows and warm, rich reds.”  Joan Thorndike’s Bulletin Board posts concerning requests for marigold blooms is a great example of melting pot awareness. When it comes to color, paint with a broad brush.

What about trends in bouquet styles? There are lots of interesting commentaries and design insights all over the web, in floral trade magazines, and on television. David Tutulo’s site Your Wedding Experience (yourweddingexperience.com) was noted in a recent SAF email newsletter which means SAF florists will follow his comments. “Rather than building arrangements around one flower or one color, florists select blooms that look like they were plucked from the same wild garden. The finished look is unstructured but magical”. I like it! His comments sound closer to curricula vitae of ASCFG growers than to flower factories in Latin America.

How to Treat the Favorites

Some of the most popular flowers in 2015 included hydrangeas (no surprise there!), dahlias, and peonies. Hydrangeas love aluminum and are best hydrated in Chrysal Professional #1. Dahlias fare best with a first drink of slow-release chlorine at the farm level. Peonies love sugar. Sell food packets to consumers with the flowers to ensure maximum vase life.

All kinds of cut foliage continue to top the hit parade of wedding designs and captured attention, but the interest of herbs as foliage in mixed bouquets and wedding work has soared. If you can hydrate it, you can include it as a bouquet ingredient. Keep in mind that often cut foliage needs hydration—clean water with an antimicrobial element, but not necessarily sugar. Try using slow-release gerbera pills as first drink solution rather than flower food. The Dutch use copious amounts of cotinus in autumn designs and find that Chrysal OVB plus a surfactant gives best postharvest results. An ASCFG Bulletin Board post indicated mountain mint hydrates well in Chrysal Professional #2.

Ethylene sensitivity is another consideration when planting herbs for cut use. Sage, thyme, basil, and rosemary are minimally affected, but marjoram, mint, parsley, and oregano suffer leaf yellowing and leaf abscission when exposed to ethylene. Avoid exposure to rotting green trash, fruits, smoke of any kind, and combustion engine exhaust.

Staying up on color trends is as easy as buying a copy of Real Simple magazine every few months at the grocery checkout, and Googling “bridal trends” to see what’s featured. Almost, but not quite as enjoyable as thumbing through seed and bulb catalogues!

Gay Smith

Technical Consulting Manager

Gay Smith is the Technical Consulting Manager for Chrysal USA. Contact her at [email protected]