Trending or timeless

Departments - Outlook

October 17, 2019

In preparation for the holiday season, I started asking some friends what their kids want for Christmas this year. With a new niece and nephew recently joining my family (the first kids we’ve had around in years), I realized I have no idea what the hot toys are anymore.

From parents of young children, you get some surprising reactions when you ask what’s on the list in those letters to Santa. Sometimes they’re excited about their kids’ new interests, but more often than not, they’re exasperated by how quickly their children’s tastes change.

It seems like the next big things is always just around the corner. But going after that hot new thing can a risky bet. What’s popular this year might not have the staying power that some of the old tried and true toys do. Things like Cabbage Patch dolls and Tickle Me Elmo are flying off the shelves one year and out the next. But toys like the teddy bear seem to never go out of style.

Take poinsettias, for instance. Although the plant first came to the U.S. in the 1820s, they didn’t really rise to popularity until about a century later, when the Ecke family started promoting them as holiday decorations. By the 1980s, poinsettias were not only a must-have for the holidays, they were the best-selling potted flower in America. And while poinsettias are still a Christmas staple today, new varieties like amaryllis are starting to make headway in the area.

Trends come and go so quickly that it’s almost impossible to keep up with them all, no matter what market you look at. The hottest plant today could be yesterday’s news all too soon, and then re-emerge decades later as the newest “it” plant. Succulents, for example, were huge in the 1970s, took a dip for a few decades and have come back stronger than ever.

As hemp becomes the crop people can’t stop talking about, there has been a very polarizing reaction, not just in the greenhouse industry, but in garden center and nursery circles as well. The industry is trying to work itself out and with little institutional knowledge, academic research or infrastructure, the crop is a risky bet. And while some are embracing the newly legal plant, others see it as a passing fad. Only time will tell who’s right.

Kate Spirgen, Editor | | 216-393-0277