50 special flower varieties we love
Why florists must stock specialty varieties to stay ahead.
Back in 1985, we ran an interview with Alan Nunn who owned a flower shop in Peterborough and reckoned that supermarkets undercutting florists was the industry’s biggest concern for the future. He told us “the public must be made aware that we are different and therefore won’t and can’t compete at all levels.”
Alan’s point still rings true today since we often talk about supermarket buying power; their ability to haggle impossibly cheap prices for flowers which, let’s face it, are often the same quality as those you’ll fi nd at a local wholesaler. It’s what leads to bad press as newspapers pick up on the major contrast in costs at peaks and spread myths about florists hiking prices “because they can”. It’s not your wholesaler’s fault and it’s not their importer’s fault, it’s simply because supermarkets are buying such large volumes that growers can afford to drop their rates.
Florists, however, have a very different but completely crucial kind of buying power which we reckon is often ignored. You have the power to pick the best, most unusual and very latest in science and breeding technologies; allowing you to impress customers with unique, luxury products impossible to find at any multiple retailer because they can’t afford to take the risk or the product simply isn’t available in large enough numbers. It’s this demand from the florist end of the chain that’ll encourage growers, importers and wholesalers to boost supply of special and unusual varieties, making the industry more exciting and adding overall value to the product. And the more florists to stock them, the more likely consumers will choose to buy from independents when searching for something special, because they can guarantee it’ll be more interesting than the same bog-standard blooms available everywhere else.
A breeder’s role is similar to that of bees; put simply they cross pollinate one variety with another in the same way bumble bees carry nectar from one plant to the next, resulting in the two species mixing. Flower breeders aim to improve varieties and create new ones to meet the needs of florists who want to push their designs to the max and the ever-hungry consumer keen to move onto the next thing. Here's a list of favourites we've spotted at trade fairs around the world.
Anisa by Franco Roses
Ayame by Breier breeder
Begonia, specially bred with fresh cut stems which are about sweet-pea length, ready for export and wholesale! We hear this has been around for a few years but it was a first find for us - almost as exciting as the first time we saw cut-stem Kalachoe (check out Danish breeder Queen if you've not heard of it)! This Begonia variety is called 'Brighty Line' Sky by OZ Export & Hamifleurs.
Babylon by Funza
Admittedly we fell a little bit in love with these Mikado Syngonanthos, and whilst it may all be down to clever marketing by Bunnik Plants who prompt thoughts of fairytales and frog-kissing-princesses, these mini houseplants totally catch the eye; topped with little gold crowns which genuinely sparkle in the light. Available Sept - Jan.
Blackberry Scoop Scabiosa
Blueberry by NIRP Roses
As yet unnamed, by Breier breeder
Chiquita by Dummen Orange/ Terra Nigra
Coloured Eucalyptus by Rumhora
Constellation by International Rose Breeders
As yet unnamed by De Ruiter
Dianthus Sweet White by Ball breeder
Early Grey Roses by Agrinag
And another of Early Grey Roses by Agrinag
We spotted tons of gorgeous Lisianthus in Germany this month, breeders are really going to town with exciting new shapes, colours and styles. This huge-headed ruffled variety is Alissa Pink by Van Der Lugt.
Just one of many unusual spaghetti gerbera varieties, this one is Pasta Rosata by Schreurs and Coloured by Gerbera.
Extasis Carnation by SB Talee
Fiesta Roses by Grupo Andes Farms
Frozen Freedom by Naranjo
Helene by Plantador Colombia and Grandiflora
Himalaya Alstro by C.I Maxiflores
Intenz Pink Alstro by Bicco Farms
Lege Marrone Dianthus by La Gaitana Farms
Mayra's Green by Flexport de Colombia, Flores Funza
Mayra's Pink by Continental Breeding
The cool green of Eucalyptus will never go out of style but we thought this Cyrtomium Fortunei would make a stunning alternative foliage, giving more bang-for-buck with its wide leaves. Produced by Goedegebuure Natural Decorations.
Mother of Pearl by Matina
Novelty by Galleria Farms
Novelty by Galleria Farms
Novelty by Galleria Farms
Spotted at a number of trade fairs, Ananas (or pineapple) is now incredibly on-trend, we reckon helped hugely by forward-thinking florists like Rebel Rebel who regularly incorporate the cut flower version into arrangements and bouquets. This variety is Pacifico by Hamiplant.
The Roselily: now a fair few years old but still under-used in our opinion. Perfect for customers looking for something unusual, unscented, and a lily alternative that won't drop pollen or upset pets. This is Roselily Isabella by Your Lily.
Novelty by Colon Farms
Pink Springs by Dummen Orange/ Terra Nigra
Red Eye Roses by Olij Breeding
They've been around for a few years now but these No Water Amaryllis bulbs are still a talking point at trade shows, and their designs are constantly evolving. Launched as a Christmas novelty covered in glitter, some of the new waxed and even velvet-coated styles are stylish enough to suit those who veer away from anything artificial.
Delicate furled petals from these Crown of Dynasty (top) and White Liberstar (bottom) tulips from Triflor, giving a regal appearance.
Rosita Vendela by Excellence Flowers
Terra Posh by Dummen ORange/ Terra Nigra
Terra Stola by Dummen Orange/ Terra Nigra
If you're looking for gorgeous twigs to add structure and a wow-effect, these Cheanomeles Superba really caught our eye as they looked so fresh with a real cherry blossom appearance. Produced by Goedegebuure, it's sadly only available December through February.
Sanseveria, or Mother in Law's Tongue - an age-old variety especially popular for corporate accounts and business lobbies, however we particularly like these extra-mini versions (the pots are around the size of a thumb) so they'd make a nice alternative to mini-succulents. They're also great for decorating; cover the tips in gold leaf or you can even buy special plant jewellery from Charmon at Easy Care.
Trottola by NIRP Roses
White O Hara by Plantador Colombia
Yellow Fuego by C.I Flores de la Vega
Cloony Soorten Ranunculus... an oldie but a goodie, always guaranteed to get customers drooling. These are supplied by OZ Export & Hamifleurs, and are bred by Piazza Dei Fiori.
Again an already established popular plant variety, Zamioculcas, but we're predicting big things for this houseplant trend over the coming few years - a great and slightly more unusual alternative to the Yukka, those pictured are produced by Duynplant.
The Phalaenopsis has become a supermarket staple but we're always keeping an eye out for special varieties and while on first glance this Wild Orchid variety from Opti-Flor might look like a standard white, it produces tons more little heads than you'd normally find, which gives a gorgeous cloud-like appearance.