Planning to wow your love on Valentine’s day with a dozen red roses and a host of other goodies? Be prepared, because florists across the city say that roses, and most other flowers, are likely to cost a bomb. And then some.
High prices at major sources of supply, compounded by the string of auspicious days this Valentine’s week, have played havoc with the city’s flower prices. Roses in particular were already selling at Rs 25 or Rs 30 per rose (retail) and costing about `200 and more for a 20-rose bundle wholesale, on Tuesday morning. Prices are expected to rise further come the eve of February 14 and Valentine’s day.
The rise in prices comes as more of a suprise because most florists also said that they expected a lower demand for roses on Valentine’s Day this year. Shouldn’t lower demand mean lower prices? No, said John Peter, a flower wholesaler at the Koyambedu Flower market. “Flowers have been steadily increasing in cost for the past few months. The expected reduction in demand is primarily because of the high prices,” he pointed out.
Florists across Chennai agreed. Laxmi, manager of Fern ‘n’ Petals, a popular florist in the city, told City Express that while ‘roses for your valentine’ remain the traditional offering one would offer their partner on February 14, more and more couples were choosing to buck the trend. “More people are choosing to go for something other than flowers this year. Mainly because some of the other options actually tend to cost less than roses,” she said. “We have received only three to four orders till now this year. Last year it was substantially higher.”
And the rose has seemed to have lost it’s allure, not just with couples, but with hotels as well. The Park hotel’s floral theme for Valentine’s day will have red flowers by the hundreds, but not the rose. “We are planning to use red flowers in our decorations and themes for Valentine’s day. But they will not be roses,” said a hotel official. He added, “Roses will figure in our restaurants but they won’t be part of the main decorations.”
With Valentine’s day only two days away, sudden reversals in expectations are unlikely, but definitely not out of the question. According to wholesalers and florists both, demand for flowers is a very fickle thing. “It is possible that there will be a sudden spurt in demand on February 13, whatever the prices. But that can only be seen when it happens,” said flower wholesaler Mohan. And will supply be strained if that happens? “No,” he said, “we can order and receive sufficient supply from Bengaluru. Should the demand increase suddenly, supply will not be an issue.”
But flower sellers, from wholesalers to retailers, were all united in opinion on one front. However supply and demand equations should turn out this Thursday, roses will still cost a bomb.