Nationwide flower shortage could impact prices

Nationwide flower shortage could impact prices

Credit: ASSOCIATED PRESS

Nationwide flower shortage could impact prices

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by Colleen Ferreira, KUSA

WVEC.com

Posted on May 7, 2014 at 11:47 AM

With Mother's day this Sunday, flower prices may be going up because of a nationwide shortage.

Carnations and lilies are some of the flowers particularly hit hard by the shortages.

Dr. Martin Quigley, an ecologist at the University of Denver says the shortage actually stems back to the 1970s.

"In the early 70s, the jump in domestic fuel prices, nationwide, caused many greenhouse growers to shut down," Dr. Quigley said. "Colorado was once the national center for carnation growers. Once the production greenhouses were closed, the growing was out-sourced to Latin America, where the terribly cheap labor offset the cost of shipping by air."

He attributes the ongoing shortage to several factors.

First, Dr. Quigley says there's an incredible surge in demand for a few specific kinds of flowers all on the same date. He says many consumers only go for roses, and that's why there's a price hike around the holidays where roses are in demand. Stores can't be stocking up on rose products for months in advance because it's perishable.

Second, Quigley says energy and transportation prices are increasing every day, and it's easier for shippers to deal with less perishable items.

Third, floral production is largely globalized. Quigley says the bulk our market is supplied by Central and South American producers. Unlike bananas, that have a large shipping volume all year round, floral demands and supplies fluctuate widely.

Dr. Quigley says since the floral market is not as consistent or predictable as food sales, Rose prices have been known to double or triple at holidays and other flowers are consistently double the "normal" price when there is peak demand.

Last minute buyers will always pay even more to get the most popular flowers, which always seems to be roses.

Quigley say short term shortages will typically be over after the holiday and the prices may drop back down.

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