Why are flowers so expensive??
Let's face it, flowers are a luxury. It's cheaper to buy plastic flowers from the $2 shop. How can something that literally grows out of the ground be so pricey?
And at the moment, more so than ever. Thanks Covid.
Here's the lowdown on everything that goes into your bouquets, from farm to vase. (Weddings and events are a whole nother kettle of fish - keep an eye out for further mystery-solving blogs.)
There's a lot more that goes into growing flowers than you think. Cultivating seeds, digging up bulbs, pruning, fertilizing, maintaining greenhouses, protecting from frosts and storms. Knowing exactly when to pick the flowers so they bloom perfectly at your house in a vase rather than on the plant. Techniques to grow long straight stems. The growers are experts - and this is just step one.
The flowers have to be sorted into sizes, types, and colours, then bundled up by rubber bands. They're either stored in tall buckets or wrapped in plastic or paper sleeves for transportation. All this is to protect the flowers, and to make the wholesaling job easier - usually selling per bunch of 5 or 10 stems rather than per single bloom. (Bar the huge ones like king protea or hydrangea. Imagine trying to tie 10 of those hefty fellas together with a rubber band!)
The blooms are then sold directly from growers to florists, or with a wholesaler in between. From transportation to invoicing, websites to refrigeration (flowers kept cold will last longer and stop the blooms from opening too quickly); again there's a whole series of steps in here.
Then there's the prep the florist has to do. After removing any protective sleeves and rubber bands, it's essential to strip the stems of any leaves that will sit below the waterline in buckets or vases to stop algae from growing. The stems must be trimmed (or not, depending on the flower type!!) and thorns removed. So on top of the expertise and time it takes to do this, the florist must own and maintain all the proper equipment.
To allow you to get to these beautiful blooms, the florist has to own and maintain a website for you to order from! Not to mention a phone line, or even a brick and mortar shop - rent for a studio is expensive, especially in Auckland.
Actually making the bouquets is another story. Your florist will choose the colours and stems carefully, mixing textures, choosing scents, and matching the blooms to your order requests. This is where their creativity and artistry are important - compare your local florist’s bouquets to the ones at the supermarket, and you’ll see why.
The blooms will be wrapped carefully in paper (or cellophane if you’re nasty), plus twine or ribbon. Again, this will be thoughtfully chosen by the florist - whether for colour and elegance, or to prioritise the environment like me - plus to celebrate their brand. Your note to your loved one will even be written by hand.
Delivery! Free delivery is one good way to shortchange your florist - whether they pay for a courier or maintain a car or van - it’s expensive dude! This is not just some package that you can slap a sticker on and toss in a boot, this is some delicate shipping business. Your blooms will arrive fresh as a lil parcel of happiness.
Plus, everything behind the scenes - growing a social media tribe, paying an accountant, taxes, holiday pay, even internet.
BONUS - Covid19 edition:
With restrictions on workplaces, growers have had less produce this year. Roses are still expensive as heck - I’m hoping prices will even out over spring and summer! Plus, imported flower numbers have reduced, and while Bloomsday uses none of these, it means more demand on locally-grown supplies across the industry.
On the other hand, flowers do make the perfect ‘thinking of you’ gift for those you can’t visit at the moment! Contactless, gorgeous, sunshine-in-a-vase. Get amongst ;)