US: "There is a massive flower shortage right now in DC"

In addition to all the other goods that are hard to find these days—new cars, couches, even kitchen appliances—DC’s flower professionals say there’s a shortage of flowers that’s like nothing they’ve seen before. 

Currently, demand is at an all-time high as the industry navigates the boom of weddings that were rescheduled during the last 18 months. Some vendors say they’ve crammed three times the normal number of weddings into this season alone. On top of that, everyday consumers have also increased their demand for flowers. 

“With the isolation and separation brought on by Covid,” says Elizabeth Daly of the Society of American Florists, “people turned to flowers in a big way, not to mention a more intense focus on beautifying our homes, where we’ve spent so much time, with flowers and plants. Even as people are gathering and starting to go back to the office, we’re not seeing that spike in demand taper off.”

The result is increased pressure on the supply chain. Grocery stores have bought entire farms or flower brands for their inventory, says local wedding florist and flower farmer Holly Heider Chapple. 

But even the exceptionally high demand is not solely responsible for the current flower crisis. “During the onset of the pandemic, there was not enough demand for flowers, which caused mass loss of product and then a huge loss of labor, which meant many farms were lost, many fields were lost, and not enough labor was in place to recover quickly enough,” says Rachel Bridgwood of Sweet Root Village, an event floral design company in Alexandria. It’s an issue that florists across the country have connected on social media to discuss. 

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