9 February 2022

Red rose shortage means Valentine's Day will be expensive this year

Roses are red, violets are blue, no more red roses! What do we do?

Die-hard romantics may need to sit down for this one… yes, there’s a red rose shortage this Valentine’s Day. And, even if you do manage to get your hands on a bouquet, they will be a lot more expensive than in previous years.

Poor weather conditions in major growing areas and the ongoing impacts of Covid-19 have affected the supply chain as many overseas growers struggle to meet demands at this busy time of year.

New Zealand flower growers are still going strong, but there is always a limited supply of red roses, which florists usually make up for by importing flowers.

United Flower Growers is New Zealand’s largest flower market and supplies flowers to florists around the country. Thai-Anh Cooper from UFG said event weeks such as Valentine’s put a lot of pressure on growers to ensure there are enough blooms. “The ongoing wider market impacts of Covid has intensified that pressure where domestic demand has thankfully continued to remain firm but any natural shortfall in domestic supply has been unable to be filled by other means.”

Red roses will be a lot more expensive than in previous years.

Brook Thomson, owner of Brooklyn Flowers in Ponsonby, Auckland, said the shortage is particularly bad this year.

“New Zealanders get really into Valentine’s Day, but we just can’t supply the same volume that we could last year. We’re offering other flowers to offset it as it’s just not worth the time and the expense for roses, we aren’t making any money on it.”

Mount Eden’s Roses Florist owner, Sandra Sleemen, said rose prices have been very high.

“Yesterday’s red rose prices were crazy. Three times what we would usually pay and it’s likely to increase further as we get closer to Valentine’s Day… There are always a few traditional customers and they will be disappointed”.

Florists relying on imported flowers have been told that overseas workers are isolating due to Omicron and there are also freight issues as space is at a premium.

“There are roses on their way but we have been told that there are hold ups and unfortunately, they will not make it by Valentine’s. It’s very sad for the rose growers and all concerned,” Sleeman said.

This also means that the price will be higher for what little stock there is.

Searching online, we found the price of a single-stemmed rose currently varies from $20, to one florist listing it for a whopping $85.99.

UFG set up the Feel Good with Flowers campaign, which urges people to support local florists this year by buying other flowers.

“It’s no secret that your local growers and florists have had a tough couple of years when it comes to trade. Valentine’s is a crucial month for NZ growers and retailers and by showing your love for someone you’re also showing love to our incredible growers, florists and floral economy here in Aotearoa.” Thai-Anh Cooper said.

If you’re keen to treat your loved ones (or yourself), while supporting local, take some tips from Sandra Sleeman, of Roses Florist, on how to approach buying flowers this year:

  • Mix it up and give your florist creative licence (it’s what we’re trained to do). 
  • Celebrate all those beautiful blooms that are in season and NZ grown. 
  • Order early to avoid disappointment (a.k.a. now).

Member comments

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Dawn N.
12 Feb 2022
Romantic gestures

I agree with Rogers thoughts. The day isn't about material gifts - just express your love in words or deeds.
I've never received a card or red roses, or any other gift, from my husband of 55 years because our first son was born on 14th Feb and he reckons there's no gift in the world that would equal that! There have been times I've doubted that but it has made Valentine's Day special for us.

Roger Cole.
12 Feb 2022
What a waste

Perhaps the reason young people are having trouble buying a house is because they waste their money on this sort of thing.

Michele M.
12 Feb 2022
That's harsh!

It's not just young people who like flowers on Valentines day. I don't think the cost of a bunch of flowers once a year is going to put much of a dent in their house savings.

The reasons it's hard for people to buy a house is the cost of housing itself. It's damn near impossible for many people to save for a house when they're paying $400-$500+ in rent.

Jacqui B.
12 Feb 2022
who wants roses ?

Market research years ago asked women what they really wanted on Valentines Day and the list went diamonds, chocolate, and flowers way down the list . The diamonds bit is outdated now as we understand how we have been duped. by marketers
I could never understand why any woman would you want avrose, which dies after a couple of weeks. Is that how long the romance lasts ? Buying a real plant would make much more sense to show how the romance will grow and blossom over time.
I would still go with the chocolate bit though.