Now that spring has come and gone and summer is over half way over, it's time to start thinking about the off-season. Just because temperatures will soon drop and gardeners' outdoor areas will start to shut down doesn't mean the gardening has to stop. Many gardeners are already starting to think about how they can transform their indoor living spaces and create a home for their favorite plants.
For obvious reasons, poinsettias are most garden centers' top seller in the winter, but there are many complementary plants that can be sold alongside poinsettias.
Aside from the obvious indoor potted crops, I want to discuss some new outdoor varieties that will be just as successful indoors as they are out. I'm a big believer in differentiation, and I think growers should be open to offering a variety of winter crops for their customers. Especially when it comes to younger gardeners. New homeowners and urban dwellers love to stand out, so they'll love adding some not-so-typical varieties to their indoor plant collection.
Cyclamen 'Sierra Snowridge Purple' (Syngenta Flowers)
Although cyclamen is a pretty common off-season crop, this new introduction from Syngenta Flowers is a novelty color addition to the Sierra series. It has deep purple petals with a distinct white picotee. It stands out witih its larger flower size and centrally held flowers.
Hydrangea 'Peppermint Swirl' (HGTV Home Plant Collection)
Hydrangeas are another good option in the cooler months and make a wonderful gift. Part of HGTV's Showstopper Hydrangeas collection, this unique hydrangea boasts a peppermint candy variegation on pink (or blue) flowers.
Rex begonia 'Shadow King Green Pink Tips' (Green Fuse Botanicals)
New to the Shadow King series, this new color features small leaves and is great for small, medium and large containers. As part of Green Fuses's Lifestyle Plants collection, Shadow King begonias will perform well indoors and out. In garden shade, they'll do well in the North and West.
Gomphrena 'Pink Zazzle' (EuroAmerican Propagators)
This new variety has gotten a ton of attention since its debut at the 2013 California Spring Trials. It's uniquely positioned as a multi-purpose plant. It will do well in containers, as a cut flower and as a potted crop. With it's large, long-lasting flowers and bright color, it has tons of consumer appeal.
What will you be growing in the off-season? Which varieties are your customers already asking for? Shoot me an e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org  and let me know your thoughts. I'd love to hear from you.
— Jasmina