Left: 'Nature and natural,' along with texture and pops of color, is expected to continue to be a popular request at Lavender Hill LLC in Jeffersonville, Ind., in 2019. | Right: Consumers appreciate unique blooms, such as these cymbidium orchids, raspberries, berzillia and astrantia, says Lisa Greene of Beach Plum Flower Shop, Newburyport, Mass. ( Left: Carolyn Minutillo | Right: Laura Kozlowski )

Consumers’ attraction to texture, increased use of e-commerce and a growing popularity of succulents and foliage are among the floral trends to watch for in 2019, industry experts say.

Kate Penn, CEO of the Alexandria, Va.-based Society of American Florists, says she discovered several common themes this fall when she surveyed a number of accredited designers who “live and breathe floral trends.”

“The most frequently mentioned was the consumer’s attraction to texture,” she says.

Any and all protea deliver on this, she says, including big pink and silver kings and the medium susara; banksia; leucadendron; dahlia; cymbidium orchid; ornamental raspberries and an “endless array of unusual foliages.”

Foliages increasingly are taking center stage in designs, she says, which dovetails to another big trend — green plants.

“It’s the ’70s all over again, and some of today’s favorites include euphorbias, jades, succulents and other arid plants, such as tillandsia,” she says.

At the same time, customers are getting more adventurous, perusing the cooler or buckets on the store floor, grabbing an armload of flowers and asking the designer to throw them together in a vase, she says.

“Retailers with skilled designers on hand can capitalize on this movement,” Penn says.

Go greens

Lots of greens, especially eucalyptus like bonsai, parvifolia and silver dollar, are gaining favor in stores, as are garden tea roses; carnations — especially purples and antique colors; and hydrangea, sunflowers and protea, says Frank Biddle, president and owner of Vista, Calif.-based Francis Biddle International Inc., known as FBI Flowers. 

Although Africa is becoming a growing source of flowers, Colombia and Ecuador will remain dominant suppliers for the U.S. market, he adds.

Ben Dobbe, chief operating officer and senior sales executive for Arroyo Grande, Calif.-based Holland America Flowers LLC, sees carnations and poms starting to decline after a five-year surge. At the same time, flowers grown in America — like lilies, tulips and seasonal peonies — will gain acceptance.

Tech trends

Mega tech trends that impacted floral in 2018 will continue to grow and affect the industry in 2019, says Becky Roberts, director of floral and new initiatives for the Produce Marketing Association.

“Particularly, the trends will continue to affect how flowers are bought and merchandized,” she says.

“We saw e-commerce emerge as a major trend in 2018, and we predict this will only continue to grow in 2019.”

There also are some trends — “or realities” — on the transportation side of the industry that may require a shift in buying patterns, says Penn of the Society of American Florists.

“The combined impact of the driver shortage and the reduction in air cargo space means buyers need to plan more ahead to ensure they get the inventory they’re hoping for,” she says.