Flower of the Year OTA 2023 Announcement

The largest flower wholesale company in Japan (referred to the data from the Japanese Flower Auction Association, ranking first in nationwide annual handling), Ota Floriculture Auction Co., Ltd., has selected the following four items as Flower of the Year OTA 2023 from approximately 200k items traded in Japan’s market, including imported products. This reflects two aspects of the industry trend —- the personal demand for gifts and home use rooted during the COVID-19 pandemic and the recovering trend of business demand (events, funerals, weddings, etc.) while post-COVID begins. 


Moreover, muted colours and magenta, which have recently become a hit in fashion, are also highlighted as popular trends in the flower industry. In addition to the sense of transparency, seasonality and a dry texture, the award-winning varieties in this case meet each of these criteria, capturing demand effectively. 




[Grand Prize] Hydrangea “Autumn Colour MinazukiJA Tonenumata (region: Katasina Village, Gunma Prefecture)  


The white Minazuki flowers in the initial blooming stage gradually change from green to antique (muted pink), and eventually to a rich magenta colour over time. According to Ota Floriculture Auction Co., Ltd., the distribution share of JA Tonenumata accounts for over 70% of the Autumn Colour Minazuki. The pyramid-shaped cone flower cluster, exceeding 40cm in total length, exhibits an overwhelming presence as it turns magenta. Such attributes attract many designers and flower shops therefore it is valued as a seasonally featured product. It has gained high praise not only as a valuable handy product to the recovering business demand post-COVID but also as a home décor grasping the rising demand. Operating at an elevation of about 700-1,000m without the use of heating in the region, they continue agricultural production in a sustainable way. Despite the declining tendency in Japan’s domestic flower production, there is no doubt that the supply of Minazuki from JA Tonenumata increases every year. 




[Excellence Award] Gloriosa Superba “ZEN” – JA Aichiminami (region: Tahara City, Aichi Prefecture) 


As the Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry, and Fisheries reported in 2023, Aichi Prefecture boasts the highest flower production value of 532 billion yen, securing the top position nationwide. Tahara City, in particular, is a major flower production area even nationally, with over 100 flower varieties grown. Among them, Gloriosa Superba is represented by the unique variety “ZEN,” cultivated by only one producer. This original variety, smaller than the usual Gloriosa Superba, features shades of orange. While Gloriosa Superba was traditionally used mainly for corporate needs such as venue decorations, “ZEN” has expanded its usage to individual needs, including homes and gifts, thanks to its small orange flowers. When arranged in a vase, “ZEN” stands out with a vibrant display reminiscent of butterflies taking off from the surface of a lake. The balance of flower bloom, coupled with a 3D perception of space, brings vitality to the design. As the first-time awarded kind, the name “ZEN” is derived from Zen philosophy, symbolizing the breeder’s wish to advance alongside the flower and become a globally recognized bloom. 




[Special Award] Matthiola incana (Stock) “Vintage Brown” – JA Amarumemachi (region: Higashitagawa-gun, Yamagata Prefecture)  


According to Tokyo Central Wholesale Market statistics, Yamagata Prefecture holds a share of about 30% in the production of Stock cut flowers, ranking second in the country. While stock flowers are traditionally associated with pastel colours, “Vintage Brown” breaks the impression as an innovative variety. In a year when muted colours and magenta are popular in various fields, this brown stock has been accepted in the market. The wine and cocoa-inspired colour, with its sophisticated charm, is versatile in various scenes such as space decoration, gifts, and home use, distinguishing itself from traditional stocks in terms of its usage. As the first time achieving its award, JA Amarumemachi’s Stocks is originally known for its stable quality. In addition, “Vintage Brown” brings a unique presence that overturns the image of Stock flowers. It has gained attention from many people and secured this award. 




[New Product Encouragement Award] Rubus Branch (berry) “Iroha” – F.U. KAGAWA Co., Ltd. (region: Kitagun, Kagawa Prefecture)  


“Iroha” is an original product of F.U. KAGAWA where nearly 70 varieties of cut flowers and branches are produced, including Clematis, Capsella Bursa-pastoris (Shepherd’s* Purse), and Pistachio leaves (as per our count). F.U. KAGAWA has built a unique position in the cut flower production market by cultivating unconventional branches and flowers that other production areas tend to overlook. One of their unique supplements is “Iroha,” classified as a branch in the market. An original selection, “Iroha” has leaves about one size smaller than regular Rubus Branches, with a rounded shape. Highly compatible with other flower materials and in line with the trend of I-lines and C-line forms, it has been well-received in a wide range of scenes, from space decoration to home use, subscription services, and Mother’s Day gifts. Responding accurately to the demands of the constantly evolving branch and leaf market, their development of a product that captures needs precisely leads to this award. 




What is the Flower of the Year OTA? 


Every year, we award the Flower of the Year OTA to varieties that have been highly valued among the flowers distributed at the market and to those who have produced and supplied them to the market. This award, now in its 19th year, is based on statistical analysis of annual transaction data and voting by major buyers, capturing varieties that accurately reflect trends. The evaluation standards not only focus on quality but also evaluate various aspects from the distribution perspective, including ease of purchasing, and trendiness in colour and shape distinguishes this award significantly from traditional contest-style reviews. We convey our gratitude for the usual supply to the awardees, encouraging further supply, and aim to visualize trends, providing this result as reference information for future cultivation. 




Production: Ota Floriculture Research Institute Ltd. 

Translation: Ms. Shang Kuan; Edit: Mr. Kato