Donate SIGN UP

UK Daffodil Shortage

16:37 Mon 24th May 2010 |

The sight of a broad swath of bobbing yellow flowers inspired Wordsworth to pen his famous poem. For many of us seeing daffodils at the sides of roads or in gardens is a sign that spring is on the way. The days are getting lighter and warmer and the weather is getting better. However, this year that has not been the case and the coldest winter for 30 years is to blame.

“This year, the extreme cold weather has delayed England's daffodil season by up to four weeks, causing a shortage of the flowers. And as Mother's Day approaches, a prime selling time for growers, farmers and suppliers fear they will miss out on profits.” said the BBC.

This caused much consternation around St David’s Day, 1st March, when the flower, which is one of the national symbols, is traditionally worn by Welsh people.

Cornwall and Lincolnshire are the country’s two main daffodil growing areas. In Cornwall the picking usually starts in January and in Lincolnshire in February. Workers are now frantically picking the flowers in the run up to Mother’s Day.

The growers have only just begun picking four weeks later than usual. This means that there will be more flowers to sell in a shorter space of time. There are fears that many will be wasted if they cannot be sold. The season, nearly half over, usually ends in April. About half of the daffodils grown in the UK are exported abroad, with the other half sold in Britain.

The shortage has driven up the price of daffodils and any that are reaching the market are making a huge mark up. This makes it even more frustrating for growers whose crops are still not flowering.

Many growers are tied in to contracts with major suppliers; which means that prices are fixed in advance, before the season has started. They are now struggling to fulfil orders placed months ago and many have had to cancel.

An additional problem is that because the flowers are growing in longer daylight hours they will flower quicker and, therefore, have smaller stems than usual. Will the buying public still love the shorter version?

If you would like to know more about daffodils why not ask AnswerBank Home and Garden.

Do you have a question about Home & Garden?