american floral trends 2004

What started as a seed of an idea some two years ago grew into a groundbreaking program for the floral industry—“American Floral Trends 2004.” The project, which identifies the four most significant trends in the floral industry, addresses not only color but styles, materials, ambience, and more.

Never before have trends specific to the American floral industry been identified. Heretofore, we’ve looked to the fashion and home furnishings industries (which are related, but different) to guide our style direction and purchasing decisions. But thanks to funding provided by the California Cut Flower Commission, our industry now has its own trend report that we can use to help us select, design, and market flowers, containers, and accessory merchandise with greater knowledge and profitability.

The American Floral Trends 2004 program premiered at last summer’s AIFD National Symposium in St. Louis to an audience of nearly 1,200 floral professionals from around the globe. And by reading through the following pages, as well as the attached booklet on page 89, you, too, can discover these floral-specific trends and utilize them to benefit yourself and your business.

Known for their medicinal values, the Aloe genus of plants impels wellness—and that is the soul of this trend. The “Aloe” palette—peaceful, therapeutic, and spa-inspired—is centered around nature’s blues, like sky and ocean, but it also comprises neutrals such as the grays and off-whites of stone, sand, and clouds. The blues, which span the spectrum from violet blues to green blues and even to gray blues, are warm, rather than cool, blues.

Complementing the healing essence of this trend, soft textures, natural materials, and fragrance are key elements, so herbaceous materials such as Artemisia, Echinacea, Salvia, rosemary, and lavender are among the ideal botanicals. Other florals with grayed and diluted blue-to-lavender hues, like Eryngium and Nigella, are also appropriate as are fragrant and distinctive blossoms including off-white roses (‘Sahara,’ ‘Renata,’ ‘Sandy Femma’) and white lilies-of-the-valley, Helleboruses, Ranunculuses, Anemones, and a host of others. The same blue and gray hues, along with fragrance and texture, are also important in foliages, making Eucalyptuses, dusty miller, and the like quite suitable. Succulents can also enhance this trend.

The “Aloe” style is casual and uncomplicated, reflective of a relaxing beach retreat, yet its combinations of colors, textures, and elements are quite calculated. Containers can include glass (clear, frosted, and lightly tinted), ceramic, wicker, and other natural elements in the same palette, and accessories can include stones, shells, and sand along with natural fibers and gauzy fabrics.

As its moniker implies, the organic “Chlorophyll” trend is centered around green—a full spectrum of hues, from grayed and brownish greens to bluish greens, with kelly green surfacing as the freshest. Predictably, this trend also comprises all that the color connotes—nature, renewal, growth, vitality, and even serenity. Long considered only a neutral in floral design, green is in the foreground today, important enough to stand on its own.

Within this organic trend, foliages of every coloration, variegation, and texture are found, from everyday species to exotic Eucalyptuses and Proteaceaes to large tropical specimens and more. Other vital botanicals include ornamental grasses, branches, mosses, lichens, pods, cones, seeds, and berries as well as large fruits and vegetables. And today, an unprecedented variety of natural green-hued blossoms is available, from roses (‘Jade,’ ‘Super Green’); carnations (‘Prado’); spray chrysanthemums (‘Kermit,’ ‘Discovery,’ ‘Yoko Ono’); and Gladioli to callas (‘Green Goddess’); amaryllises (‘Lemon-Lime’); cockscomb; Lisianthuses (‘Mariachi Green’); Anthuriums (‘Midori,’ ‘Pistache’); Viburnum; Amaranthus; Hydrangeas; Hypericum (‘Jade Flair,’ ‘Green Condor’); Cymbidium, Dendrobium, and Paphiopedilum orchids; and much more.

The style of design most befitting of this trend can be described as natural, vegetative, botanical, and uncontrived. And congruous containers can include anything made from organic materials such as clay (ceramic), stone, wood, bark, roots, vines, grasses, leaves, wicker, rattan, hemp, and so on.

Inspired by the world of cosmetics, the “Cymbidium” trend is about luxurious and sensual materials in gentle skin tones, from complex brown-toned pinks, reds, burgundies, and red-violets (including the born-again mauve) to flesh, tan, taupe, and deep browns. It is warm and textural, glamorous and sophisticated, flattering and feminine, and it has a vintage ambience spanning late-1800s Victorian to 1930s Art Deco styles.

With rich hues and sumptuous textures being hallmarks of this trend, roses—both hybrid tea and English—are particularly suitable, in hues from velvety red and sultry blackish red to the unusual antique “flesh tones” of ‘Halloween,’ ‘Metalina,’ ‘Rustique’, ‘Sahara,’ and others. Other fitting florals include orchids in brown, burgundy, pink, and plum hues; deep burgundy miniature callas; peonies; burgundy and pink cockscomb; dark and blush-tone lilies; amaryllises; and Amaranthus, to mention only a few. For a brown influence, consider chocolate Cosmos, Hypericum, and brown-tone Anthuriums (‘Choco,’ ‘Safari,’ ‘Terra’). Coordinating foliages are those with red, brown, or flesh colorations such as Maranta, willow myrtle (Agonis), smoke tree (Cotinus), Photinia, Lophomyrtus, and even red huckleberry.

Floral designs are abundant, luxurious mass arrangements with mixes of common and exotic florals and tonal and textural variations. Foliage should be removed from stems unless it is tinged in a “cosmetic” hue. Containers range from pale pink and rich red/burgundy colored glass to natural terra-cotta, ceramic, and bronze vessels. Similarly, textural leathers, suedes, velvets, and linen are suitable enhancements.

A vital, bold, and sensual palette, “Masala” is a warm, strong, colorful trend encompassing diverse, ethnic influences of Moroccan, Middle Eastern, and Indian cultures. The hues are saturated reds, magenta, hot pink, oranges, and yellows with a jolt of electric blue. It often embodies artifacts and materials reflective of these foreign locales. Fragrances, especially those of exotic spices and incense, are important in this trend.

Flowers are brightly colored and can include marigolds (important flowers in some of these cultures and their intrinsic religions); Dahlias; Zinnias; Celosia; Oriental poppies; vibrant-colored roses, particularly vivid bicolors; lilies; lotus blossoms; and African natives including birds-of-paradise, Gerberas, Banksias, Proteas, and other members of the Proteaceae family. Brilliant blue is effectively incorporated with cornflowers, monkshoods, Belladonna and Pacific Hybrid Delphiniums, hyacinths, Dutch Irises, and even Echinops. Additional befitting botanicals are palm leaves and other exotic foliages, large pods and fruits, and seeds and spices such as star anise, cloves, nutmeg, vanilla beans, and the like.

The “Masala” look is organic and even tribal, and floral stylings can range from linear and abstract to dense massed designs. Containers can be ornately carved vases and bowls of wood or stone, vibrant ceramics, and elaborately ornamented or hammered metals as well as vessels evocative of ancient artifacts. Coordinating accessories include brilliant silks and other fabrics with stripes or tribal patterns, intricate embroideries, sequins and beads, and figurines and artifacts of Middle Eastern religions.

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