Czechs spend increasing amount of money on flowers

Gone are the days when the only thing you could get at a Czech flower shop were a few wilting carnations. Nowadays, you can find a florist at every corner, packed with Dutch tulips and flowers of every colour and shape. According to recent data of the Czech Association of Flower Growers, Czechs are spending an increasing amount of money on flowers.

Last year, Czechs on average spent almost 800 crowns each on flowers. Cut flowers made up most of the total amount followed by pot and garden plants. I asked the chairman of the Czech Association of Flower Growers, Jiri Horak, to explain the reasons behind the increasing popularity of flowers:

"Czechs do like flowers and they spend increasing sums of money on them. In the past two years it was about 8 billion crowns, which is about a 40 percent increase comparing to year 2000 and about three times the amount spent in 1994. We think the reasons behind it are the growth of the economy and improved living standards, a wider range of products and better promotion in the media."

Cut flowers you can find in Czech flower shops, however, usually come from abroad, as the flower production in the Czech Republic has dropped significantly. Jiri Horak again:

"The situation at the Czech market with cut flowers is not good at all. The production of cut flowers virtually stopped after the deregulation in 1989. So I would say that almost hundred percent of flowers are imported to the Czech Republic. We do produce pot flowers, however, especially the so-called "balcony flowers".

Earlier today, I went out into the centre of Prague and asked some passers-by how they felt about flowers.

Young Man: "Actually I buy them for my relatives and also for the persons I admire and I like."

How often do you buy them?

"Twice a week or once in a week."

What flowers do you prefer?

"Mostly roses and also carnations."

Young Man: "When I am thinking about it, I buy only cut flowers and I buy them for my girlfriend. When I want to buy her something, I choose a flower."

How often do you buy them?

"Every weekend. Yeah, every week."

And what flowers do you prefer?

"I prefer roses, red roses."

Old Lady: "I bought this beautiful bunch of flowers for the church, where I am going to pray so that we all stay healthy and return safely from holidays abroad. I buy flowers regularly once a month, as a present for birthdays and name days and for the church."

According to Jiri Horak of the Association of Flower Growers, Czech taste in flowers has not changed that much over the years. Carnations have become slightly outdated, but roses and gerberas remain the most popular ones and exotic flowers such as chrysanthemums and orchids are also becoming increasingly fashionable.