The holidays are fast approaching. Commonly known as the most wonderful time of the year, it’s also one of the busiest times of the year in the flower shop! It is a time when people are looking for ways to spread cheer to friends and family near and far and lucky for us, flowers are a fantastic way to do that.  Many are setting out with holiday to-do lists and coming by our shops to order flowers for all kinds of winter festivities. They may be wondering why the price of flowers seems to have gone up and why there just isn’t quite the same selection available as usual.

Sometimes it feels like the price of EVERYTHING has gone up, and maybe it feels that way because it has. Flowers are certainly (and sadly) no exception. Many of our customers have commented on how they used to be able to get exactly what they wanted and have it delivered immediately or on very short notice. Now they often have to wait to get that product, and sometimes not even get it at all. 

There are many factors that have led to a rise in the pricing of cut flowers, from the climate crisis to a global pandemic, right down to the local job market. We wanted to shed some light on why exactly you may be noticing the price of flowers increasing.

A quick google search brings up hundreds of results showing article after article related to the increase in demand for flowers related to the COVID 19 pandemic. Some are even referring to it as a flower outage.

The pandemic forced us all inside, away from each other for prolonged periods of time. It was during these times of isolation that many turned to plants and flowers as a way to connect with nature, and with each other. 

Just as lockdowns were being imposed across the globe, farmers and suppliers worldwide were forced to pull crops or let them die in the fields. In the spring of 2020 farmers globally were faced with the very difficult decision to destroy hundreds of millions of flowers due to restrictions. Entire crops could not get to market and many growers very sadly went out of business. It is estimated that roughly 400 million flowers were destroyed in the Netherlands alone at that time.Photo by BK Studios Photographers

So what happens next after such a terrible loss? Well, new crops take time to grow and mature. Even to this day, we are waiting for growers to catch up with the substantially increased demand for flowers. Farming takes expertise, time, and experience…not just anyone can turn around and grow crops of premium quality cut flowers.

Fast forward to the end of 2021 and restrictions in many parts of the world have either relaxed or lifted altogether, but there are still other challenges in our way. Climate change continues to affect the cultivation of flowers. Across the globe, extreme weather patterns have had adverse effects on field productivity. Droughts, storms, floods, fires…all of these things either slow production or can wipe out entire crops. We’ve been witness to it close up here in our own back yards in BC. We had unprecedented heat and fires over the summer, and now are facing record-breaking rains and devastating floods. 

There are also challenges and rising costs associated with shipping and delivery. Not to mention the job market. Some farmers are having issues just hiring drivers to bring their flowers to market. Orchids and tropical flowers have been near impossible for us to get, and the occasional time we’ve managed to get tropicals, they have had quality issues due to delayed shipping. 

When it comes to imported flowers, the shortage has meant a real increase in prices. For some flowers, the prices have doubled since pre-pandemic. Some varieties of roses that are popular in wedding work have jumped to a staggering $52 per stem compared to a pre-pandemic price of $5 per stem. Locally, supply vs demand has driven prices up.  Photo by BK Studios Photographers

Alright, that’s a whole lot of BAD news, and it really is incredibly sad. Now it’s time for the bright spot in all of this darkness. The shortage of imported flowers has boosted demand for locally grown flowers, keeping more money in the economy. It’s no secret that we are big proponents of local flowers and have been for a very long time. We are supporters of some really incredible growers right here in Victoria from major growers who ship across the country, down to some incredible micro growers who service the Greater Victoria area only. We are grateful to them all for growing such beautiful, high-quality flowers and consider them extended members of our flower family here at Brown’s. We are proud to say that now more than 80% of the flowers we carry are locally grown on the island or the lower mainland.

The flowers these amazing growers provide us are not only equivalent in quality to the imported products we’ve seen in the past, they are superior. Locally grown means these flowers are cut, packaged and shipped to us in a fraction of the amount of time in comparison to imported flowers. It’s not unusual for us to receive flowers in our shops that were cut from the plant just one day earlier! This means the flowers you buy from us will be longer-lasting and in most cases are pesticide-free. Our local growers do everything possible to avoid the use of pesticides and instead use Biocontrols as pest management. That’s a fancy way of saying using good bugs to control bad bugs.

The benefits of locally grown flowers don’t stop there. When you purchase flowers that were grown locally you are supporting many local people- your local florist, local farmers, and local delivery drivers. It’s no secret that choosing local keeps more money circulating within the community, strengthening the economy and supporting real people right in our own backyard!

While the price of flowers has gone up, we hope after reading this blog you can understand the reasons behind the increases. We are thankful for our customers, both new and long-time who have supported us before the pandemic, during it, and beyond. We hope that you know just how far your floral purchases go…right back to those lovely folks at the farm spending their days tending to plants and planning for the next season. And we hope this holiday season you’ll continue to support local businesses, not just at the flower shop but in other parts of your life too. Local restaurants, gift shops, clothing stores, photographers, party planners, and all kinds of other businesses can all use your support. Just a 10% switch in your spending to local keeps 25% more money in the local economy. This holiday season we challenge you to consider making that 10% switch!

Written by Amanda Vallis

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