Inflation is the thorn in your Mother’s Day bouquet. Florist says flower cost has risen by 50c to $3 per stem since pandemic

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You might want to put some extra cash aside for mom’s carnations this Sunday. Because, like everything else, flowers are getting more and more expensive.

For Mother’s Day on May 9, the National Federation of Retailers, a trade organization, predicts people will spend up to $31.7 billion, up 12% from last year. The group finds that 84% of Americans plan to celebrate their mom in some way, and 72% plan to do so by buying flowers.

The NFR’s survey of 8,574 American adults from April 1-11 found more men than women will buy flowers for Mother’s Day, but experts say they should all expect to pay more for these bouquets this year.

A spokesperson for 1-800-Flowers.com, a national online flower and gift retailer, said it plans to deliver about 23 million stems for Mother’s Day – the biggest occasion in the year for the company – broadly in line with the group predicted last year.

Florists and suppliers say their profit margins are squeezed. LaParis Phillips, owner and lead designer of New York floral studio Brooklyn Blooms, said the cost of Mother’s Day floral supplies has risen by 50 cents to $3 per stem since the pandemic began.

Florists and suppliers are feeling the squeeze on their profit margins.

The price difference obviously depends on the flower – a daffodil or a tulip will cost more than an orchid or a rose – but inflation has been a thorn in the side of florists this year.

“Flowers aren’t immune to this inflation,” said Chris Drummond, president of Philadelphia-based florist Penny’s by Plaza Flowers. Depending on the flower, he saw an increase in costs of 18% to 20%, and in some rare cases, up to 30%.

Compare that to the US annual inflation rate of 8.5% for March, the highest since 1981.

The flowers are delicate, perishable, require skill to grow, and often travel long distances before reaching the dinner table on Mother’s Day.

Most florists in the eastern states of the United States – including Penny’s by Plaza Flowers – import flowers from Colombian and Ecuadorian farmers. Transportation costs are also rising, with rising gas prices due to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

Farmers are also dealing with a higher cost of fertilizers due to the Russian invasion of Ukraine. Gasoline is a key ingredient for fertilizers, and Western sanctions on Russia – the world’s top fertilizer exporter – have pushed those prices even higher.

Even the prices of shipping boxes and driver uniforms have gone up since the start of the pandemic. “It’s just a regular component now,” Drummond said, referring to the constant price hikes in the industry.

How much of these costs do florists pass on to customers? Drummond said he was holding back large price increases in the short term and therefore securing a lower profit margin.

Brooklyn Blooms’ Phillips said it is adjusting its prices to account for the aforementioned cost increase. So far, customers have not asked questions because, she added, most people are aware of rising inflation.

“It’s everywhere, at this point, people should already know,” Phillips said.

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