After a tumultuous few weeks, flower growers are expecting a boost in Mother’s Day sales. (ABC Landline: John Gunn) If you’re thinking of sending flowers for Mother’s Day next week, order early because some growers are predicting a sell-out of supply.

A lack of imports and a surge in demand for home deliveries have boosted the local flower industry, which was initially rocked when COVID-19 restrictions were imposed last month.

Weddings, major events and corporate orders stopped overnight, and some producers, such as rose and foliage grower Steve Pellizer, were discarding flowers.

“We were probably dumping 50 per cent of our flowers because, initially, no-one knew what they were doing, whether they were able to trade,” he said.

“A lot of shops instantly closed because they were scared of the virus, so sales were down.”

But fortunes turned around quickly for local growers and traders.

The Australian Government’s travel ban meant imports stopped, depriving florists of 50 per cent of the flowers normally available at the six-day-a-week Sydney Flower Market.

“Mother’s Day is going to be pretty busy,” Mr Pellizer said.

“We went from three weeks ago, throwing out flowers, to this present time, selling out.” Business blooming for local growers

Michael Bagala’s family company is one of the biggest of the 180 licensed traders at the Sydney market, the largest wholesale flower network in the southern hemisphere.

The company relied on imports for half of their sales before the COVID-19 pandemic.

“That’s had a big impact on importers, but it’s actually helped the local growers get back on their feet,” Mr Bagala said.

“It’s actually good in favour of the growers now; it’s given us growers a chance to sell product.”Mr Bagala said Mother’s Day was traditionally one of the biggest events for the industry.Even though the general public is now banned from the market, he predicts a bumper year.”I think Mother’s Day is going to go gangbusters here,” he said.”Obviously, mothers have been locked away at home and us sons, we all feel sorry for them, so I’m sure we all miss them.”I actually think there will be a spike in flowers, and people will ring up their local florist shops and ask for a delivery sent to their mum.” Free flowers for frontline workers Some retail florists are reporting increases in home delivery orders of up to 80 per cent, with people sending flowers to friends and relatives in isolation.However, special-events florists, like Debbi Weiss of Sydney’s Bellevue Hill, have struggled.”For weddings and events florists and stylists like myself, we have no weddings and events, obviously,” she said.But from the depths of despair, Ms Weiss and other under-employed florists have started a goodwill movement called #lovefeelgoodflowers.With the help of crowd funding, they are giving bouquets free of charge to workers in hospitals, nursing homes, palliative care, and childcare centres.”It’s been wonderful getting great responses from people, because flowers bring the smiles and bring the joy to people,” Ms Weiss said.The feel-good florists are also leaving flowers in random public locations, inviting people to take them home and […]