As a flower farmer, you aren’t just a farmer, you’re a florist. As a florist, you must listen to what consumers want to stay competitive. Like most retail endeavors, current consumer trends often determine what types of flowers you should plant. The predicted trends for 2017 will see a huge shift, says Jeff Lanman, executive director of the International Floral Distributors and Project Manager of the Flower Trends Forecast, which has been published annually since 2009.
“This forecast is quite a bit different than previous years,” Lanman explains. “This is the biggest, most noticeable shift over the last seven or eight years. Trends typically evolve more slowly. I could start in 2009 and follow how the color palette evolved. Over the last six months, there’s been an addition of gray over all the color palettes that has taken away the brighter colors.”
The predicted trends for the upcoming years comes as a disappointment to flower farmers like Trina Baumsteiger of Templeton Valley Farms in Templeton, California.
“I love bright colors and showy flowers, so that’s what I want to grow,” she says.
Lanman explains that the presidential outlook often often affects color trends.
“When there’s a reaction by millennials, the whole consumer outlook feels the repercussion,” he says. “You’re not just going to see it in flowers. If you take a good look at a lot of products, like paint, wallpapers and cars, you’ll get a feel for the shift across a wide range of product types. Walk into Lowe’s and you’ll see the difference in paint colors they’re currently selling. At David’s Bridal, you’ll see a lot more muted colors in their new styles. Now, you’ll still some bright colors … but you’re going to notice softer, muted colors mixed in with some brights.”
This decline in color vibrancy could have a distinct effect on flower farmers, who in years past, planted with a bright color palette in mind. While some may continue with what’s worked previously, others may attempt to incorporate these trends into their next crop.
“Small flower farmers can still use their favorite colors, but what they pair them with may change,” Lanman explains. “These trends are very color driven, so certainly the idea to adjust the crops within the poplar ranges is a smart strategy.”
“They’ll need creative combinations,” he continues. “The combinations they’ve used in the past may need to be updated or altered to match the trends—a new recipe, if you will, to better match consumer preferences. For example, instead of bright red or yellow, you may change to a pink or burgundy variety to adjust. They can still grow the same flowers, just change the color mix. Adjusting their color palette is going to be the most important reaction a small grower could have”
The work of Michael Skaff, a trend researcher and designer with the Color Marketing Group, has been really beneficial to IFD. According to Lanman, Skaff’s research revealed the more complex color palette that will be reflected in the 2017 Flower Trends Forecast. This includes four unique groupings.
1. The French Connection
Inspired by a sophisticated mixture found in French Country Style and formal Parisian design, this color scheme comprises softer red hues, with hints of orange and chocolate brown. Flowers in the set include red garden rose, chocolate cymbidium, musscari, rice flower, Sahara hybrid rose and cranberry viburnum.
2. Force Of Nature
This color scheme invokes serene shades of blue and green that harmoniously connect man and nature. Flowers in the set include blue delphinium, white parrot tulips, veronica, blue-dyed roses and green ball dianthus, joined by succulents.
3. Modern Wonders
A contemporary take on natural elements, this set illustrates the clean lines of modern sophistication morphed with cultural antiquities. It comprises warm gold, grayed blues, copper, oranges, muted purples and earth tones. Flowers in this set include bromeland, ginger, orange anthurium, chocolate cymbidium, calla lily, Mokara orchid, burgundy dahlia and russet sunflower.
4. Into The Jungle
This set encompasses exotic textured prints and patterns with brilliant muted tones of jungle hues in a passionate call for the wild. It comprises sun-kissed shades of orange, yellow and red alongside tropical foliage for an earthy, organic appearance. Flowers in this set include yellow tulip, cymbidium orchid, parakeet heliconia, maidenhair fern, bird of paradise, pincushion protea, brain celosia, orange freesia and yellow oncidium, joined by the hosta plant.
“Small famers’ creative combinations of what they grow will maximize consumer preferences,” Lanman says. “All the major bouquet makers for mass markets are hiring trend designers to make their recipes, attempting to chase these preferences. It requires a little bit of homework and a creative side. The consumer demand for more unique types of flowers could be a huge opportunity for small and local farms.”