Florist Laura Logan prepares Valentines flowers at Acanthus Floral & Botanical in Almonte, Ont., on Wednesday, Feb. 10, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick

Florist Laura Logan prepares Valentines flowers at Acanthus Floral & Botanical in Almonte, Ont., on Wednesday, Feb. 10, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick

Valentine’s Day roses in short supply due to COVID-19: floral industry

Several florists have urged customers to plan ahead and keep an open mind

Ontario residents looking to buy Valentine’s Day flowers for their sweethearts may have to branch out from the classic rose bouquet, or consider celebrating on another day, as the COVID-19 pandemic affects floral supply chains, some in the industry say.

The health crisis caused many local and international farms to cut flower production or shut down altogether last year, and while operations have largely resumed, supply is still lagging, according to some in the industry.

Other factors, such as transportation, are also contributing to the shortage, they say, with a drop in commercial flights and truck shipments that are typically used to haul flowers from South America to Canada via Miami.

Demand for flowers has been high throughout the pandemic, however, likely spurred by people’s desire to show affection despite social distancing and to brighten up homes during lockdowns, said Glenn Hofland, owner of the flower wholesaler Hofland, which supplies florists across the country.

It’s particularly high for Valentine’s Day, and while most people should be able to secure flowers for their loved ones, they might not get their hands on roses, he said.

“It is an overall shortage but the demand right now is so high for roses, that’s where we really feel it right now,” he said.

When Valentine’s Day falls on a weekend, there typically tends to be less of a rush to buy flowers because people have other options to mark the occasion, such as going out for dinner, Hofland said. Not so this year, he said.

“With the current COVID world, that kind of changes because people can’t go out, they can’t go for dinner, they can’t go for a weekend (away),” he said.

“So it’s kind of escalating … and we are feeling that.”

Several Ontario florists have urged customers to plan ahead and keep an open mind in placing their Valentine’s Day orders, with some suggesting a shift to Valentine’s week to ease the pressure on a single day.

Jennifer Fowlow, owner of the Wild North flower shop in Toronto, said the store was sold out for orders on Feb. 13 and Feb. 14 more than a week before Sunday’s holiday, and was close to it for Feb. 12.

That’s partly because Fowlow cut back on the number of orders the store would accept, given the hurdles posed by the pandemic, and partly because customers are buying more in advance than usual, she said.

“It’s a combination of people have less going on — they’re at home, they’re thinking about it — but also of course the supply chain is really quite compromised,” she said.

Even shops like hers, which rely heavily on local growers, have experienced difficulties in getting supplies, since other florists have now also turned to local sources, Fowlow said.

Public health restrictions on gatherings also mean it can’t be “all hands on deck” on Valentine’s Day like it normally would, and staff have been split into several shifts to limit exposure, she said.

Another Toronto florist, Sweetpea’s Floral Studio, announced in late January that it wouldn’t ramp up operations for Valentine’s Day like in previous years, given the strain caused by COVID-19.

“This past year has been more than anyone could have normally handled and, quite frankly, I am worried about the mental and emotional health of my team. I don’t want them to burn out over a single holiday,” the shop said on social media.

“We would rather set reasonable expectations for ourselves, maintain our quality of service, as well as our own well-being.”

The florist said it “highly” encourages customers to order for another day instead.

“We are all in lockdown anyway. Half of us don’t know what day of the week it is most of the time. Make Valentine’s the day of your own choosing,” it said.

ALSO READ: Kraft Dinner launches candy-flavoured mac and cheese just in time for Valentine’s Day

Mary Currie, who owns The Monarch Florists in Mississauga, Ont., said the shop has been getting more Valentine’s Day orders than usual this year — and people are opting for more lavish arrangements.

Currie said her regular customers trust her vision, and that’s allowed her to make use of what’s available during the pandemic. Snapdragons, for example, were plentiful at a time when other blooms were hard to obtain, prompting Currie to start featuring them in her work, she said.

“If you’re flexible, there’s lots of flowers,” even leading up to Valentine’s Day, she said.

Large grocery chains, meanwhile, said they didn’t expect any issues meeting demand for flowers ahead of the holiday.

“While there has been increased demand and other pandemic related pressures on farms in the lead-up to Valentine’s Day, we’re expecting to receive deliveries of roses in time for the holiday,” a spokesperson for Loblaw said in a statement.

Stores in the Metro grocery chain were also expected to carry roses for the holiday.

“We have secured our requirements based on our anticipated demand, so no shortage expected in our stores,” the company said.

Paola Loriggio, The Canadian Press


Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Want to support local journalism during the pandemic? Make a donation here.

CoronavirusHolidays

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

A nurse performs a test on a patient at a drive-in COVID-19 clinic in Montreal, on Wednesday, October 21, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Paul Chiasson
36 new cases of COVID-19, one death in Interior Health

The number of active cases in the region is at 366

A health worker holds a vial of AstraZeneca vaccine to be administered to members of the police at a COVID-19 vaccination center in Mainz, Germany, Thursday, Feb. 25, 2021. (Andreas Arnold/dpa via AP)
43 new COVID-19 cases in Interior Health

368 cases in the region remain active

Ashcroft RCMP are warning businesses to be aware of a suspect passing counterfeit $50 and $100 bills in the Ashcroft and Cache Creek area. (Photo credit: Stock image)
Counterfeit money being circulated in Ashcroft/Cache Creek area

Police are warning local businesses to be on the alert for counterfeit cash

The former Ashcroft Elementary School building, which closed as a school in 2015 and is now operated as the Ashcroft HUB, pictured during Skip’s Run, June 2017. The board of education of SD74 voted on March 2 to sell the property to the society for a ‘nominal fee’. (Photo credit: Barbara Roden)
School district votes to sell Ashcroft HUB for ‘nominal fee’ to HUB Society

Amendment to motion seeks to keep school district’s financial interests in property secure

Cache Creek council say that budget meetings have to take place before a public meeting about the fate of the pool — first promised in May 2019 — can be held. (Photo credit: Journal files)
No date set for public meeting to discuss fate of Cache Creek pool

Council says public meeting cannot take place until budget discussions have been held

B.C. Health Minister Adrian Dix and provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry head for the B.C. legislature press theatre to give a daily update on the COVID-19 pandemic, April 6, 2020. (B.C. government)
B.C. nears 300,000 COVID-19 vaccinations, essential workers next

564 new cases, four deaths, no new outbreaks Thursday

The B.C. Supreme Court ruled Feb. 26 that the estate of deceased Sooke man and Hells Angels prospect Michael Widner is to be divided between his wife and his secret spouse. (Black Press Media file photo)
Estate of deceased Vancouver Island Hells Angels prospect to be divided between wife and secret spouse

Michael Widner’s 2017 death left a number of unanswered questions

This Dec. 2, 2020 photo provided by Johnson & Johnson shows vials of its Janssen subsidiary’s COVID-19 vaccine in the United States. THE CANADIAN PRESS/AP-Johnson & Johnson via AP
Canada approves Johnson & Johnson’s 1-shot COVID-19 vaccine

It is the 4th vaccine approved in Canada and the 1st that requires just a single dose

Walter Gretzky father of hockey hall-of-famer Wayne Gretzky waves to fans as the Buffalo Sabres play against the Toronto Maple Leafs during third period NHL hockey action in Toronto on Tuesday, Jan. 17, 2017. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Nathan Denette
Walter Gretzky, father of the Great One, dies at 82

Canada’s hockey dad had battled Parkinson’s disease and other health issues

Kelowna General Hospital (File photo)
Second death reported in Kelowna General Hospital COVID-19 outbreak

A total of seven cases have been identified at the hospital: six patients and one staff

Municipal Affairs Minister Josie Osborne speaks in the B.C. legislature, March 4, 2021. (Hansard TV)
B.C. Liberals, NDP sing in harmony on local election reforms

Bill regulates paid canvassers, allows people in condo buildings

(National Emergency Management Agency)
No tsunami risk to B.C. from powerful New Zealand earthquake: officials

An 8.1 magnitude earthquake shook the north of New Zealand Thursday morning

(AP Photo/Richard Vogel, File)
Pandemic stress, isolation key factors as to why Canadians turned to cannabis, alcohol

Study found that isolation played key role in Canadians’ substance use

Most Read