No buds about it: Global flower shortage may leave kids scrambling this Mother's Day
They say April showers bring May flowers, but florists are becoming concerned about extreme weather conditions in key growing regions.
Countries like Colombia are seeing record flooding and Israel is experiencing a heat wave which creates a more stressful growing environment for delicate flowers. It also means certain flowers may not be the ideal bloom you are used to buying.
Nicole Troncone, owner and florist of NT Designs, said her shop was one of many affected across the U.S.
"We weren't able to get some product because of flooding, because of heat waves in Israel," Troncone said. "So, what we do is basically figure out our plan B and adjust."
Some flowers grown in Israel include the sweet pea, known for their exquisite fragrance and delicate shape, which are hard to acquire due to the period of unusually hot weather.
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"When something doesn't come in the way we like, it will affect maybe the length or the quality of it, but we are able to figure out another kind of flower," Troncone said.
If you are looking for the perfect arrangement for mom this year, peonies, garden roses, lilacs, Icelandic poppies as well as tulips would make for a beautiful selection.
"For Mother's Day, it's really all about the peonies," she said. "They're just so beautiful. They smell amazing. So, this is really our top seller for sure."
Florists are also dealing with a glass vase shortage due to supply chain issues. Preordering is strongly recommended to avoid any issues.
Troncone admits prices do go up for all the holidays, especially Mother's Day and Valentine's Day, because of the supply and demand.
"You're asking farmers to give you all these flowers and because of that, they are going to charge more," Troncone said.
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However, florists try to prepare at least two months out and preorder as much as possible.
"But obviously, based on like the weather and the supply of things, we try our best to accommodate," Troncone said.
Harvesting every last stem
A way florists try to navigate flower shortages from around the world is to locally source them.
"Mother's Day is very, very busy, and so what we have as an advantage to our climate is that it's a gentle climate, but anything with Mother Nature is going to be tricky," said Abigail Helberg Moffitt, owner of Bloom WNC in Black Mountain, North Carolina.
The farmer and florist has spent her life in the dirt and the elements to grow and design specialty flowers. For this Mother's Day, they're harvesting every last stem.
"I think any flower farmer would tell you that they're sold out this week," said Helberg Moffitt, who wished she had thousands and thousands of blooms to sell to her community.
That’s just not the case. About four weeks ago, temperatures dropped to 6 degrees with 50-mph winds on her farm.
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"Even when I double-cover my crops, they just can't handle that," Helberg Moffitt said. "Anything that was in bud, they just died. I lost probably 5,000 tulips. I lost my whole ranunculus crop. That's just how farming is for anybody."
She said the climate in western North Carolina now seems to be at a lull for Mother’s Day.
"There's a point where you're just like, ‘OK, I've done everything I can.’ You just can't win. Why am I fighting this? I just lost a lot of crop. How do I figure out how to adapt for that next year?" she said.
She is not dwelling on that too much and has started shifting her focus on educating her customers.
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"We rely on South America so much for flowers and produce," she said. "Educating them on what is seasonal is really important."
While flowers can be a nice gift, there are fun alternatives for the moms in your life. Click here for some sustainable gift ideas that will continue to tell her she's special long after Mother's Day this Sunday — which is really every day, isn't it?