Why B.C.’s floriculture industry is blooming in challenging times

What's a florist's busiest month of the year? Nope, not February. Sales tend to blossom in May


That’s how many locally grown tulips are sold at Burnaby’s United Flower Growers in May. During the company’s biggest month of the year, Mother’s Day and spring bedding season bring North America’s largest flower auction $4 million in sales—a 75-percent jump over the monthly average. United Flower Growers CEO Bob Pringle says “tricky times” in the floriculture industry—changing weather patterns and currency rates, high land costs, import pressure from warmer countries and, more recently, ubiquitous labour shortages—have left the province with fewer growers, but the survivors are producing a greater total volume. “We have an affluent customer base here and in the Pacific Northwest,” Pringle notes. “We sell a lot of product into the Seattle market, and in B.C. and Washington the economies are good.” Something else that could further prune our flower producers: a different kind of bud. “We’ve had three growers sell their properties to users who intend to convert to cannabis,” Pringle says.