US: Complex reasons why the floral supply chain is in dissaray

Across the U.S. and the world at large, florists have faced an unprecedented set of interconnected challenges over the last two years. Why? A confluence of everything from discarded crops and poor weather to labor shortages and supply chain snags keeps tripping up the industry. And though vaccinations have set the stage for a projected 2.5 million weddings in 2022, those in the flower trade expect the pain to persist.

“What we are facing now is an abrupt halt in the entire floral world,” Rishi Patel, the CEO, and CCO of event producer HMR Designs, told. “We’re probably a year out from some sort of stabilization.”

The problems can be traced back to the earliest days of the pandemic. Just as uncertain about their future as the rest of us, growers scrapped much of their 2020 supply, and scaled back their planting ambitions—while also augmenting what they planted—in 2021. Poor growing conditions in South America and droughts in California further decreased crop yields.

At the same time, flowers have hardly been exempt from more universal pandemic challenges. Harvesters and salespeople scattered to the winds as operations shut down, some of whom have found new work or relocated from growing areas. As most U.S. flowers come from Colombia, Ecuador (home to most of the world’s wedding-quality roses), the Netherlands (ditto for peonies), and Kenya, many blooms have languished in coolers at airports or in warehouses while awaiting transport.

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