Rose prices bloom ahead of Valentine's Day

Roses from Kenya and China are larger and pricier than those from India (left to right respectively). -- ST PHOTOS: LAU FOOK KONG
Roses from Kenya and China are larger and pricier than those from India (left to right respectively). -- ST PHOTOS: LAU FOOK KONG
Xpressflower.com employees packing blooms for Valentine’s Day at the florist’s Paya Lebar outlet. -- ST PHOTOS: LAU FOOK KONG
Xpressflower.com employees packing blooms for Valentine’s Day at the florist’s Paya Lebar outlet. -- ST PHOTOS: LAU FOOK KONG

Large roses in short supply due to China's worst winter in 28 years

Customers who want to give their wives or girlfriends large roses for Valentine's Day must pay more for them this year.

This is because they are in short supply this season, say florists and importers.

China, which provided over 80 per cent of all rose imports to Singapore in January last year, suffered its worst winter in 28 years last month.

More than half of the rose crops in Kunming, the capital of Yunnan province, were destroyed amid heavy snowfall, said Mr Soh Yee How, managing director of retail florist Xpressflower.com.

As a result, the large roses from China - the blooms of which measure around 6cm in height - cost more.

A dozen roses from Xpressflower.com cost around $145 in the week before Valentine's Day, up from last year's promotional price of about $135.

However, the price creeps up a couple of days before Feb14 and is now $159. Prices do not include GST.

Blooms from China are about 30 per cent larger than their counterparts from India, and have been a popular choice for florists because of their competitive prices.

Chinese roses made up 81 per cent (243,190 stems) of all rose imports in January last year, and 69 per cent (418,400) the subsequent month, said the Agri-Food and Veterinary Authority.

However, last month, roses from China made up just 26 per cent (68,190) of all rose imports.

To make up for the shortfall in supply from China, florists are bringing in more roses from places such as Kenya, as they are comparable in size.

At Prince's Flower Shop in Upper Bukit Timah Road, a dozen large roses can cost around $250, said general manager Lim Boon Hiong. Last year, they cost less than $200.

Blooms from Kenya made up 12 per cent (31,560) of rose imports last month, up from a mere 1 per cent (1,710) in January last year.

At Flower Matters in Millenia Walk, a dozen roses from Kenya now cost about $250, up from $220 last year, said florist Jes Ong.

Despite higher prices for roses this year, most retailers are expecting at least 20 per cent more sales.

The price increase for roses is unlikely to deter customers, as roses are a symbolic gift that please loved ones.

"It's all about earning her smile," said Mr Nah Kok Gee, 32, who buys roses for his wife on special occasions.

"I know that giving her flowers will make her happy," added the technical specialist at an IT company.

byseow@sph.com.sg

Register here to get free digital access to The Straits Times until Aug 9, 2015.
Comments