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How a nationwide flower shortage has impacted Butte florists

Posted at 4:58 PM, May 14, 2021
and last updated 2021-05-14 20:06:15-04

BUTTE — For centuries, flowers have been given as gifts to loved ones, used as a symbolic language for joy, passion, and love. Flowers adorn wedding halls, funeral parlors, and even proms. But what would happen if all those events, that were on a yearlong hiatus due to the pandemic, began again?

Flowers are in demand more than ever.

The COVID-19 pandemic has caused a nationwide shortage of flowers and house plants. Florists are scrambling to keep up with the increase in demand.

"Since COVID hit a lot of the farms in South America have shut down or they couldn’t get people to pick the farms or anything else due to illnesses and stuff so it put a stopper on everything," said Diane Schalk, owner of Schalk's Posie Patch.

How a nationwide flower shortage has impacted Butte florists

The flower industry came to a halt when the pandemic began as the demand for flowers plummeted. Now that big events are beginning to come back, demand has shot up.

Florists have been having a hard time keeping flowers, like these, and houseplants in supply because demand is way too high for them to manage.

Over at Wilhelm Flower Shoppe, they have been having a hard time keeping houseplants in stock.

"Our house plants are hard to get right now so that’s one thing that we’re experiencing is getting our green plants in," said Lori Putnam, flower designer for Wilhelm Flower Shoppe.

Putnam said that this was due to a shortage of growers.

"Over the COVID they didn’t have enough people growing them in the greenhouse so we are experiencing that with the green plants," Putnam said.

Over Mother’s Day weekend, prices for flowers rose double the amount. Schalk compared it to Valentine’s day increases.

"When the demand is up, prices go up, but for us to even buy roses they doubled in cost," Schalk said.

Orders Schalk had placed never came or rerouted to different states.

"I was told many a time that it would be here, we would have it so it was heartbreaking to let my customers down," Schalk said.

Many suppliers are warning florists that this shortage could last all summer.