Valentine's Day Sunday should mean more flowers sold

Figures show that this year's weekend Valentine's Day flower spend could add an extra £10m to the flower spend, but growers are calling on supermarkets and garden centres to back British.

Valentine’s Day 2016 falls on Sunday February 14, and aggregate US consumer floral spending for this holiday has a projected retail value of $3.3 billion (Prince & Prince, 2016), ranking second behind the Mother’s Day holiday (Prince & Prince, 2015). 

In terms of aggregate spending, a weekend Valentine’s Day is expected to drive an estimated $130 million of additional floral spending nationwide - almost five per cent more than if Valentine's Day fell on a week day. 

Of the UK's £262m Valentine's Day flower spend, two-thirds to three-quarters is on red roses - making up 21m blooms. Recent homegrown campaigns have promoted British flowers for Valentine's Day. And a combination of milder weather and Valentine’s Day falling at the weekend means UK growers expect good sales of indoor plants and cut flowers.

British anemones, hellebores, alstroemeria, daffodils, ranunculus and tulips will be ready earler than usual after the mildest winter for a century, but a British-grown flowers campaigner says supermarkets are not backing homegrown. 

Flowers from Farm owner Gill Hodgson said: "It's been a peculiar year with things that shouldn't be flowering coming out. There's a forecast for colder weather next week and that is a worry. Yorkshire is like Cornwall at this time of year. I've got anemones out in the garden without heat and if I wanted them in the past at this time of year I'd have to get them from Cornwall.

"There's a good variety of British flowers available and I hope more people will see and buy them. We are gradually getting people to think about them as an alternative but the red rose is so traditional it will always win out. But the colour red gives British growers an introduction with home grown red tulips and anemones for Valentine's Day. But imported flowers will be to the fore because people have to search for British flowers.

"It's easier to walk into a supermarket and pick up a bunch of imported red roses. I'd like to see supermarkets promote British flowers but I don't think they see anything in it for them. M&S and Waitrose do in the summer becau se they sell top-end British flowers and people do have to pay a bit more for them, because they;re better quality."

British Protected Ornamentals Association (BPOA) HomeGrown chairman Andy Wroe said: "I expect sales of home grown plants to be stronger with this milder weather and encourage garden centres to work closer with British growers and utilise the Home grown UK logos."

UK cut daffodils began five weeks early, in December 2015, while Lincolnshire daffodils are three weeks ahead. This meant some Cornish flowers were lost because they were ready too soon.  While there is a glut of cut daffodils, retail prices have not fallen, though wholesale prices are down 25 per cent.

Taylors Bulbs Steve le Sage said some daffodils were eight weeks earlier than normal with "a lot of outdoor flowers around at the moment". He said there might be a shortage of daffodils by Mothering Sunday on 17 March if mild weather continues.

Bryants Nurseries is supplying primroses as decorations and takeaway gifts at the Garden Retail Awards on behalf of the BPOA.

HomeGrown has arranged for the 300 primroses in 10.5cm pots to give as table gifts for the Garden Retail Awards on 4 February to promote the BPOA's Home Grown campaign to garden centres.

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