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
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
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
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.