You might have heard reported in the news that again this year, the horticultural industry in the EU and UK is facing significant plant shortages. This is predicted to continue from spring into the summer as it did in 2020.
Why is there a shortage of plants?
1) Increased demand Demand for plants has never been greater. Especially in the UK, because we are all stuck at home in (reducing) lockdown, we are all naturally turning our attention to our home spaces and have been sprucing up our gardens with the arrival of spring. So, one end of the scale, there's much higher than normal demand.
2) Reduced supply At the other end of the scale, there's the fact that many nurseries have been unable to sow sufficient seeds and start young plants at the time they would normally do that. Many nurseries have 3-4 year growing cycles, and they sold out of so much of their available stock last year, that they have even less stock available this year.
Growers have also been really limited by the number of staff they can hire, partly due to social distancing requirements, but also by the financial impact of being considered a 'non-essential' business during lockdown and having to furlough staff. As an added complication in some cases brought on by Brexit, they have also been impacted by the lack of EU seasonal workers who are usually on hand during the summer months to help with planting and potting on.
And of course, what happens when there's more demand than there is supply? Yes, that's right, prices increase.
So once again, it's kind of a perfect storm.
I'm sharing this with you because I want to reassure you that we're doing all we can to protect our customers from the effects of this plant shortage, just like we did last year.
But I also wanted to share the strain that this puts on a small business, and to share that my amazing team is working overtime to make sure that this is as invisible to you as we can make it. They truly are pulling out all the stops and are dedicated to making your Lazy Flora experience as lovely as possible.
Here's what's going on behind the scenes.
- We have taken on several new suppliers over the past few months so we have 'backups of backups'.
- We have really strong relationships with our existing suppliers and they're doing all they can to ensure that the orders we have placed are fulfilled on time.
- The quality of our plants will be unaffected: you can be confident that we will only ever ship the highest quality plants available, even in these extreme circumstances.
- We aren't passing on the price rises we are experiencing to our customers (in some cases prices are 40% higher than even last year).
How will this affect you?
Our goal is that you won't notice a problem at all.
However, we are needing to remain agile and responsive to the situation, so you may notice some week-to-week adjustments to our outdoor and edible plant collections as we navigate this unusual territory with our growers and suppliers. We'll keep you fully informed of any changes we need to make to your deliveries ahead of time.
When will this end?
As Covid and all its accompanying restrictions gradually start to reduce over the course of this year, the horticultural industry will be able to regain some semblance of normality. By the time we get to Autumn, we expect the plant shortages to be behind us.
This should mean that, by this time next year, we won't experience the same degree of plant shortages that we're seeing this year.
Whatever happens, we'll keep you posted.
Lazy Flora has come a long way since this time last year and the challenges for us are not yet over. But we love this business more than you could possibly know, and we love bringing you plants that brighten your day.
Thank you for your ongoing support and understanding as we continue to navigate these waters, it really does mean the world.