The Rose remains one of the most popular flower varieties due to its elegance, style and often fragrance. Its romantic associations make it a favoured choice for a bouquet: whether a gift or a bridal design. Often seen as quintessentially English, the Rose is almost everyone’s “go to” flower, evoking romantic memories of special occasions, and a promise of those to come!

So, when they are difficult to obtain, what do you do? Why are they currently so expensive in comparison to previous years, and why are they in short supply?

After networking with growers, wholesalers and other industry experts, we will try to illustrate some of the factors that are causing problems with the supply of this beautiful flower that we have come to rely upon so heavily.

Factors affecting supply

  • Weather – countries such as Ecuador (the biggest producer of roses worldwide) and Colombia (the second biggest producer) are experiencing unusual and unseasonal weather conditions that ultimately has an impact on the production timetable
  • Lack of Labour – every stage of production is affected by labour shortages: at farm level through to transportation until the Rose reaches its end user
  • Lack of supplies – plastics and cardboard for packaging at every part of the supply chain.  Fertiliser, Mother plants, steel to build greenhouses, compost at farm level and the list goes on. 
  • Farms are being sold – creating less product available to source for wholesalers and florists
  • Expensive transport – container shipping (some container costs have trebled in the last year!) and road hauliers are experiencing a lack of HGV drivers, meaning less lorries on the road.
  • No excess stock held – due to an increase in demand during lockdown, excess stock has been used and productivity is unable to replace diminished stock due to the factors previously mentioned

Back-Up plan/ideas if your choice is unavailable

  • It is important to speak to your customers and offer more than one option. Do not be variety specific, only colour specific. 
  • Suggest other varieties that may be more available – offer other on trend alternatives and use social media, Pinterest and your own portfolio for inspiration
  • Use your artistic skills and imagination to create a wow factor design employing the wealth of alternative varieties available to you.  Work with your customer to create an individual, bespoke design and use this as a USP. The calibre of a business becomes apparent by how they handle “hiccups.”

Forward Planning

  • Order as early as you can
  • Don’t base your costs on historical information
  • Communicate with your suppliers
  • Most importantly, communicate with your customers. Explain the current situation and work with them on achieving a mutually acceptable alternative. They will appreciate your honesty in working to create the best possible design for their special event


It may be months or even years before our industry resembles the normality we have enjoyed in the past, so by taking these steps now, we can be better prepared for those big event days that are fast approaching. Let’s continue to sell smiles, regardless of the blooms we work with “Let the beauty we love, be what we do”

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