How do growers decide which varieties they want to grow for the coming season? Young plant suppliers play a large role in it. From offering new varieties to having varieties available that are currently in fashion, it is very important that they continue to update their product offering to get the breeder's product to the grower and then onto the market.
Doug Cole in the greenhouse
New Hampshire grower and young plant grower D.S. Cole for example, recently updated their young plant assortment by looking at the current trends from the grower's side and consumer's side. With 1,700 varieties of young plants in the assortment, he has experience with all kinds of plants and in this article, owner Doug Cole explains what is trending at the moment.
On the left: Begonia Rex as a young plant. On the right: Begonia maculata as a young plant
Grower and consumer in mind
According to Cole, when creating an assortment, it is important to have both the grower and the consumer in mind. "So, the product needs to be grower friendly and must be ready when consumers are actively buying. The grower wants success within a reasonable amount of time, so it is important that varieties have the proper growth habits. For example, most succulents look good in a photo, but it is important for us to pick varieties that will actually grow to be a full-size specimen along with the other plants in the greenhouse. It cannot take a year to grow a salable Echeveria."
On the left: Pilea Peperomoides as a young plant in tray. On the ritght: Ficus elastica Belize as a young plant
Despite inflations, good demand
Despite the current concern about inflation, consumers are still looking for colorful products to fill their outdoor containers as well as great houseplants for their homes, he explains. "At the moment, we are experiencing a good demand for flowering plants along with all kinds of houseplants."
So what varieties or categories are in demand? Cole explains below.
Summer and fall product - Sunbeckias
"There is always grower demand for summer and fall products that homeowners want to purchase. Sunbeckias fill that need with friendly-to-grow varieties with a number of flower patterns. For this reason, even though we have a selection of Sunbeckias, the demand for more colors has prompted us to increase the offering to 6 unique varieties", owner Doug Cole explains.
Alocasia California. Click here for more foliage plants
Multipurpose plants - Alocasias
Another area of demand is houseplants, he continues. "Not just the typical houseplants, but the newer category of foliage plants that have a multipurpose use; in a house, and for outside areas in sun or shade. Alocasias comes to mind with both interesting colors and patterns for use in the house. There are now plenty of larger growing Alocasia for outdoor planters."
But there are plenty of multipurpose use genera that growers and consumers are now using for these areas both inside and out. "Ficus, Monstera, Philodendron, Hoyas, Chlorophytum, and Senecios all have their place in multiple environments."
Reintroducing old varieties - Monstera deliciosa
We started the article focused on new varieties, while in reality, we often bring back old varieties that were forgotten for years, Cole explains. "The common Monstera deliciosa was always available. It was a run-of-the-mill plant until the resurgence of the house plant category just recently. Our industry has the advantage of being able to repurpose plants in new marketing ways", he concludes.