Plant transformation technology (hereafter abbreviated to GM, or genetic modification) has been used to develop many varieties of crop plants, but only a few varieties of ornamental plants. This disparity in the rate and extent of commercialisation, which has been noted for more than a decade, is not because there are no useful traits that can be engineered into ornamentals, is not due to market potential and is not due to a lack of research and development activity. The GM ornamental varieties which have been released commercially have been accepted in the marketplace. In this article, progress in the development of transgenic ornamentals is reviewed and traits useful to both consumers and producers are identified. In considering possible factors limiting the release of genetically modified ornamental products it is concluded that the most significant barrier to market is the difficulty of managing, and the high cost of obtaining, regulatory approval.