From a wide selection of color to new textures and new combinations of materials, this year’s pots – heavy and light – run the gamut. But there are some defining factors in what makes a pot hot for 2008. Let’s break it down based on textures, colors and materials.
Back To The Earth
If you think this is about color, think again. This is all about going au natural – or becoming one with the earth. This year, natural is the way to be when talking about textures. “We think that increasingly people will seek out natural terra cotta pottery – made from the earth, goes back to the earth,” says David Whitman, director of sales and marketing at Campo de’ Fiori. “Our natural mossed pots are about as ‘green’ as they get.
“We believe in a new organic, botanical direction in pottery design, taking cues directly from the leaves and petals in the garden. Our terra cotta is, and always has been, naturally greenhouse aged which creates a very appealing look for potted plantings.”
Campo de’ Fiori isn’t the only company thinking this way. Border Concepts has seen its earth-tone glazed pots selling well, while New Creative has a distressed green over terra cotta planter that has been successful.
“Also, ceramic is a material that is easily recycled, so it lends itself well to the eco-friendly push while providing a nice, upscale, decorative element to the home,” adds Jodie Winters, director of outdoor living at New Creative.
Meanwhile, Novelty Manufacturing has its new Napa planters, an addition to its ArtStone line, that have a weathered façade and a sleek, simple design similar to its popular predecessors, Bali and Mesa.
Above all, the pottery companies are striving for finishes that are more natural – even on lightweight polyethylene-made pots.
The natural trend extends to color, also. From natural stone to terra cotta, the earth-tones are back in a big way. An example of that is Campania International’s new adobe color for its terra cotta pots, a nice, soft beige that gives a new twist to terra cotta.
But, as Peter Cilio of Campania says, Americans are individualists, and they love selection. That’s why pots this year come in just about every color imaginable.
“They have far more choice than they ever have,” Cilio says of today’s customer. “There’s no excuse to not have a good container, because there are so many out there.”
Kevin Lundy of Border Concepts, agrees.
“I think more and more customers are looking for an alternative to the traditional blues and greens that have been around for many years now to diversify their product offerings to consumers,” he says. “Our Tropical Red & Green glazes continue to be a top seller, and we have added Tropical Dark Blue and Tropical Purple, which have sold exceptionally well.”
Cilio adds that though many trends come from Europe, the one he has not seen translate here yet is the black and white craze. Currently, the hues du jour there are black and white, but color still rules in the United States.
Let Them Lift It
Lightweight is another trend that will continue in 2008. Only this year, the planters will take on such a real look that customers will get a backache just glancing at them – until they take a try at lifting them. They’ll be pleasantly surprised by the texture and style of these lightweight planters.
“We introduced a new line of FGRC (Fiberglass Reinforced Concrete) for 2008 in an ‘Old Stone’ finish and ‘Slate’ finish, which have been quite popular,” notes Lundy of Border Concepts. “ Both of these have a stone-like texture. FGRC products are much lighter than stoneware and are very durable.”
Back to Novelty Manufacturing, the aforementioned ArtStone line is actually resin-based, though it appears like stone. “The material is resin-based with a composite mixture that affords the façade a unique design while providing extra durability,” explains Beth Bowers. “The line has been tremendously popular, as we’ve continued the series in different shapes and colors to complete the family.”
Even your traditional rotational molded pots have gotten new life with colors and textures, according to Ryan Mast at Rush Creek Designs.
“Our planters have come a long way since the first boring terra cotta roto-mold pots,” he says. “These planters now offer unique textures and variations in colors that will rival the best real clay pots. They also will not fade, crack or chip. In fact, it is safe to leave them out all winter long if they have proper drainage.”
The big advantages of lightweight pots, says Cilio of Campania International, is customers can actually lift them into their cars to take home. They’re not intimidated by large planters if they’re lightweight. Campania’s new Lite line is made of fiberglass mixed with natural materials, so it retains that stone look but without the weight.
“There’s nothing like the real thing, but as the manufacturers get better in reproducing these items, we see an increase in demand,” he adds.