With Mother’s Day on Sunday, London’s florists are gearing up for one of their busiest weekends. The trouble is one spring staple is struggling. A cold start to the year has stopped many daffodils from flowering, pushing up demand and prices.
Melvin Taylor from Doolittles Florists in Covent Garden has noticed the impact.
“Three or four weeks ago they were trying to get rid of them so they were very cheap, now they've gone up about three or four times.
"Spring flowers are really what people like for Mother's Day so we've got enough at the moment but we don't know and the problem is I can't replace them because there aren't many available and the price is more expensive."
This week wholesale prices at Covent Garden have increased 50% from 20p to 30p per bunch. It’s a simple case of supply and demand according to Claire Taylor who is chair of the British Daffodil Grower’s Association:
"The bulbs are in the ground for two years and we had a cold winter last year and the last few months have been very cold and grey with no sun, so the daffodils are flowering late.
"I've had lots of people calling me and offering extra money for daffodils, but we just don't have enough to meet the demand,
"This year the cold weather means we are way behind and still cutting our first variety which we usually pick in late January or February time.
"We have only picked half the number of daffodils compared to last year,"
The daffodil market is worth £23 million a year in the UK.
It’s believed many large retailers like Sainsbury’s and Waitrose will absorb the price rises and still sell bunches for a pound. For independent florists in London those price hikes will either hurt or have to be passed on to us customers.