There is a shortage of well-berried Ilex for the cut flower market this Christmas. With high demand for use in festive decorations, buyers have had to pay up to three times the normal price for good quality material.
Owner of Kerry Hill Nursery, Derek Thursfield buys large quantities of cut holly for use in wreaths and Christmas displays, and he is one of the biggest buyers at Brightwells Auctioneers in Tenbury Wells, Worcestershire.
Thursfield said: “Holly berries ripened early this year and the birds really attacked it, leaving a lot of stock bare. The good quality stock is now fetching up to three times its normal price. Last year, I was paying £8 a bundle — this year it’s £25. Golden holly, which is normally more expensive than traditional holly, is cheaper in comparison.”
Growers have also noted a lack of berries on their stock. Owner Louise Bendall, of Highfield Hollies, in Hampshire, commented: “I assume the lack of berries is due to the very dry summer we’ve had this year. I did note, however, that last year there was an abundance of berries and I’ve found that there is often a swing in the other direction the next year.”
Thursfield added that although holly has shot up in price, mistletoe is relatively inexpensive this year because it is in plentiful supply.
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