Flowers and plants getting more expensive
Czechs have been forking out more money for nearly everything – and flowers are no exception. The price of garden plants and conifers has made gardening an expensive hobby and even a bouquet of flowers costs significantly more than it did before the pandemic.
The price of cut flowers is now making many people stop in their tracks. Shop owners say that the close to ten percent hike was inevitable. Two years ago, gerberas were for sale for 15 crowns apiece, now we are selling them for 35," says Tamara Kovacsová, head of a Belle Fleurs store in Prague. A bouquet of roses will cost from 500 to 1,000 crowns.
Gardeners are no better off. Conifers cost from 210 to 250 crowns last year. Now the price tag says 310. Horticulture expert Milan Havliš says customers grumble that plants and flowers are overpriced but there are good reasons for the price hike. Firstly, he says, there is a shortage of plants and flowers on the market. Concerned about low sales due to the pandemic, growers planted less and that has pushed the price of greenery up.
According to Mr. Havliš, increased demand from the UK also contributed to the shortage. "England is the largest consumer of horticultural goods. Because of the pandemic they planted less and have been racking up orders to meet demand, mainly from the Netherlands, which is the largest supplier of horticultural goods for the rest of Europe. Because the British bought significantly more from the Netherlands, it had less goods to spare for Europe," he explains.
According to Havliš, the increased prices also reflect increased transport costs. Despite the fact that the demand for flowers is higher than growers expected, some sellers are still not doing as well as before the pandemic. Tamara Kovacsová of Belles Fleurs confirms this, saying sales are still half of what they were before the pandemic hit.
The fact that unlike most shops, pubs and restaurants, flower shops were allowed to remain open during the pandemic didn’t help all that much. People stopped coming and they have been slow to return, she says.