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Avoid Rose Roulette this Valentine's

Valentine’s Day is just around the corner, with rose prices potentially at an all-time high.

To help you navigate the treacherous waters of flower supply and pricing, Katie and Sally from Strelitzia share their approach for their retail florist Flowers by Nattrass.

With all the wholesalers saying to pre-order if you can and you feel comfortable with the prices you’re given, we’ve done just that. Rose roulette seems to be apt, as no-one knows where the prices will go in the run up to the big day!

Here’s our advice – we know that it’s nerve wracking for everyone trying to guess the market at the moment.

Our pre-order list seems ominously short compared to normal and there’s a number of reasons for this:

  • Many Dutch rose growers have ceased production or have ‘gone cold’ for the winter. This means that because of increased gas prices, they’ve stopped production until around April when they’ll get more daylight hours and temperatures will be warmer.

  • Air Freight costs are through the roof, meaning that varieties of roses from countries such as Kenya are not guaranteed to be available, as it’s not viable to fly them into Aalsmeer. This is because flowers are flown in the belly of commercial planes. Fewer commercial planes = less air freight space = higher costs.

  • Covid is still causing transport delays and absences in the workplace, causing uncertainty.

  • This uncertainty, mixed with high gas prices and air freight costs has led to some growers not releasing pre-order prices. They believe that prices will remain high and so they will get more per stem if they put everything into the auction during Valentine’s week.

So, you need to be savvy; don’t panic yet but do pre-order, pre-order, pre-order!

‘Red Naomi’ is usually our go-to luxury red rose but this year things are different. We’ve gone Ecuadorian all the way, which is slightly out of our comfort zone as we’ve ordered a variety called ‘Explorer’. It’s a large headed rose with a lovely deep red hue and no thorns!

By going with ‘Explorer’ instead of ‘Red Naomi’ we’ve saved £400. Before we bought, we rang our wholesaler and asked their advice. If you’re unsure about something then definitely do this. On the image below, ‘Explorer’ is on the left, ‘Red Naomi’ on the right.

For our white and pink roses, we’ve chosen ‘Mondial’, gorgeously frilly with lovely large heads. Again, an Ecuadorian rose.

Other flowers we’ve pre-ordered are lisianthus, eucalyptus and salal. We compared prices with what we bought last year, and all three were coming in around the same price so we decided to pre-order and not risk it.

We’re taking a gamble with lilies and will keep checking the price in the run up to Valentine’s week. You can buy lilies a week or even more before you need them, so with the right conditioning they’ll still be good as new come Valentine’s Day.

So, now we know our cost prices, what are our retail prices going to be?

We’re going with £66 for our red dozens.

We calculated that the cost price of stems + VAT + wrap + labour is £36.

If we were to double that for retail, our price would come to £72 per dozen. We’re based in the North-East of England and last year our dozens were £60. An increase of £12 would price us out of the market, so we’ve gone with £66. Use your intuition and gut feeling, but make sure you don’t lose out.

Our half-dozens will be sold at £40, and a single rose (not gift wrapped) will be £4.

We hope that helps and gives you a start this Valentine’s Day. Whatever happens, be brave and go for it!"


Brought to you by our Corporate Partner Strelitzia. For more information visit Strelitzia Corporate Partners | Floristry Trade Club


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