Owner of The Petal Pro, Christoper Deonarine, inspects his limited supply of flowers leading up to Valentine’s Day at his store in Palmyra Village, San Fernando, yesterday.

A shortage of flowers combined with an increase in funerals and weddings has forced up the price of flowers leading up to Valentine’s Day, above what is normal in the month of February.

Christopher Deonarine, the owner of The Petal Pro, a company that caters for several large events for the year, told Guardian Media that almost 98 per cent of the flowers people want for this season are imported and that international farms usually raise their prices around this time.

“The cost of red roses, for example, will skyrocket. It’s really a case of supply and demand, so the price increase comes from them, they also have to ramp up production and hire more labourers.”

Deonarine said the pre-Valentine price for one rose could be US$0.10 to US$0.15 but that goes up to US$0.90 in February.

However, he noted that the pandemic has inflated that cost.

“At the start of COVID-19 all the world’s rose farms went into dormancy, then COVID weddings spiked and funerals as well, now weddings are not just on weekends but any day of the week, so the demand has surpassed the supply and because of that they are jacking up the prices.”

How much more? Well, Deonarine said a pack of roses is usually TT$190 but now that costs up to TT$300. That increase has been passed down to the consumer.

“Unfortunately, that is what it is, so with the tulips, we would’ve been able to sell a bunch for around TT$200, now they could go for about TT$400.”

Deonarine said some customers are complaining.

“They come back and say I paid $300 last year and I got something nice and big and the same money this year getting me something smaller.”

The flower shortage is also costing Deonarine money as well because even with the price hike, people are still putting in their orders.

Even when Guardian Media was at The Petal Pro’s studio in Palmyra Village, San Fernando, Deonarine was forced to turn down potential clients.

“Honey, I really can’t guarantee anything so I won’t be able to doubt I’ll be able to do your wedding,” Deonarine had to tell one person during yesterday’s interview.

Deonarine said he and others in the industry now have to put in more time, effort and money to get their stock.

“Take, for example, this Valentine season, I had to order flowers from four different suppliers to make sure I had enough on my end then you have to cater for flight delays so you’re really running around like a headless chicken.”

Deonarine admitted that right now quantity over quality will be easier on pockets.

“I keep advising customers that the best thing right now is to do a mixed piece with cheaper flowers so you get a bigger bouquet.”