Before COVID-19 struck, almost half the flowers sold in Australia were flown in from countries such as Kenya and Colombia, but lockdowns have effectively grounded air transport and put those markets out of reach.
Despite dwindling overseas supply, some retailers are reporting sales increases of up to 400 per cent as Australians buy more flowers than ever to try to connect in the age of social distancing, stretching growers, wholesalers and florists.
Global flower giant Interflora recently removed roses, chrysanthemum disbuds and some varieties of orchids from sale temporarily due to shortages. While those varieties are back the company is expressly reserving the right to change arrangements if required.
"It's been an incredible time for us in terms of sales," Interflora chief executive Gerry Gerrard said, although he didn't expect the boom when coronavirus first hit. "It was incredibly difficult, I felt our business might disintegrate with the introduction of restrictions."
Instead, Interflora, which has operated since the end of World War II, had its biggest Mother's Day on record.