Floral industry affected by extreme weather over the past 12 months

6 months 1 day 48 minutes ago Wednesday, February 14 2018 Feb 14, 2018 Wednesday, February 14, 2018 5:28:00 PM CST February 14, 2018 in News
By: Lindsey Fafoglia, KOMU 8 Reporter
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COLUMBIA - Consumers spend Valentine's Day buying and giving flowers to their loved ones, but they might not think about the back story of those bouquets.  

"I don't think a lot of consumers actually think about all the hard work that goes into growing flowers," said Tiger Garden Employee Sarah Kight, "And the farmers involved, and the wholesalers involved and the whole process."

Extreme weather like Hurricanes Irma and Harvey, the wildfires in California and the recent snow in Florida has a big effect on the floral industry.

The MU Floral Design Instructor Lesleighan Cravens said the past 12 months have been really hard on the floral industry, and for the flowers you buy in Missouri, the biggest growers include California and Florida. 

Cravens said the recent frost in Florida froze flowers and destroyed their cells, turning them to mush. 

To prevent this from happening, she said growers will cover their flowers in water for protection until the weather warms back up. 

"But we have had a shortage on different types of greenery, leather, which is a very popular greenery, very traditional that we use a lot has been hard to get ahold of," Cravens said.

She said the California wildfires caused shortages in Gerbera daises and flowering stock, but most farmers were able to spray their flowers with water to protect them from the fire. 

"A lot of the farms were saved, but it does affect transportation and the flowers that were ready at that time were wasted." 

Cravens also said recent tariff changes caused a hold up of flowers coming in from overseas this year. 

Because of the hold up, there were up to 30 cargo planes bringing flower to the U.S. each day leading up to Valentine's Day, instead of the usual two.

Kight said most consumers don't think about the flowers' life before arriving at the grocery store where they purchase their bouquets  

"With the weather definitely affecting it, I think it's important that we tell people who are buying these flowers that it's more of a gift," Kight said. "Because some people say that they die, but they bloom, and they grow and get bigger, and they have a story." 

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