Roses still rule in race for Valentine’s hearts

Flower growers and florists are preparing to send a quarter of a million roses into Australian hearts and homes this Valentine’s Day, and that’s just in the nation’s most populous state.

Growers and wholesalers take months to prepare for the Valentine’s Day rush, sending an estimated 250,000 roses through the Sydney Flower Market.

The market accounts for about 75 per cent of the wholesale cut flower trade in NSW.

Florists and wholesalers hit the market as early as 3am to find the freshest flowers.

Vanessa Pringle, chief executive of a floral designs business at Bathurst, said it’s tough to prepare for February 14.

Her small business has been running for 13 years and has three staff members.

”We are three hours away from Sydney markets, our staff are working overtime, it is massive labour,” Ms Pringle told AAP.

Over the years customers’ have changed their approach to the day once known solely for gifts to lovers.

”I’ve gotten through a lot of Valentine’s Day now, but I definitely see customers coming in to buy roses for their female friends or men buying roses for their daughters,” she said.

”It comes down to no one wanting to feel left out.”

Suburban Sydney small business owner Maria Voudouris said Valentine’s Day is by far the biggest day of the year for florists.

”As a florist, it is really important to maintain your relationships with the locals, I see many of the same faces each year,” she told AAP.

”There is definitely a trend where people are buying fresh flowers for their mothers and other loved ones aside from their partners.”

Ms Voudouris said the trend for 2024 was a move toward pink from the traditional red.

One local florist said people are spending about $200 on bunches for their loved ones.

Research from the Australian Retailers Association estimates 3.4 million people will give a Valentine’s Day gift in 2024, down 700,000 from the previous year.

Aussies will spend $465 million – down 4.1 per cent or $20 million from 2023 – as cost-of-living pressures clip Cupid’s wings.

The association said while the overall spend and number of Valentine’s Day shoppers is tipped to fall, gift givers will splash $135 per head, up from $118 in 2023.


Nyibol Gatluak
(Australian Associated Press)


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