Florist Waiting For Lilies And Carnations For Mother’s Day


May 6th, 2021

Flower shops might not get all the flowers this Mother’s Day. Photo by, KVNO News

Waiting until the last day to buy flowers for Mother’s Day is always a bad idea, but this year could be regrettable.

Flowers purchased in Omaha have often traveled a long way before landing in our vases. This year, those flowers are having a hard time getting on a plane.

“Can’t get flights, they are using passengers instead of charter planes. Here, just take a picture of that.”

Mary Blakenship has owned Lilian’s Flowers near 35th and Leavenworth since 1988.

She thinks that she can still satisfy her customers’ demands this Mother’s Day. The flower orders for these days, she requested just after last Christmas and there are some flowers that she cannot get.

“Problems getting white carnations, the simplest thing that… we don’t have it, we didn’t get it.,” Blankenship said. “Like lilies for this holiday: none to be had, and the product is not up to my standards a lot of the times, like it has been sitting somewhere too long and it does not hydrate right because all of the flowers come from the triangle in South America, and we are having a problem getting the flowers up here. The prices are going up but the quality is going down.”

Floral exports from the triangle in South America

Blankenship’s suppliers just recently notified her about the problem that is threatening this weekend.

“Well, we are not getting this and it came in and it is not good and you complained about it so we are not sending it,” and I really complain about the flowers,” Blankenship said.

South America is one of the most popular regions for flower producers, due in part to the continent’s ideal climate, mostly in Colombia and Ecuador.

In 33 years of business, Blankenship remembers getting her flowers mostly from California or from local growers, but she thinks that growers changed their business in California. This was the case, up until the 1970s, when rising energy costs and other adverse economic factors caused many American growers to leave the business.

Around the same time, horticulturists discovered the perfect climate conditions for growing flowers year-round near Bogota, Colombia, but it would be a while before the Colombian floral industry took off.

The US government encouraged the growing South American floral industry when it reduced tariffs on floral imports in the early ’90s, causing the business to boom. South America soon surpassed the United States as a flower grower. Today, Miami International Airport processes around an annual 187,000 tons of flower imports.

Ecuador is one of the top flower-producing countries on the continent. More specifically, the country is the world’s third-largest exporter of flowers, 73% of which are roses.

Jason Pecha made the right choice of getting flowers for the ladies of his family earlier this year. He was not aware of the difficulty that some flower shops might encounter this holiday. His grandmother will be turning 90 years old this year, and last year he was not able to spend Mother’s Day with his family.

“Last year I wasn’t here; I’m in the military so I was gone, but this year we are just to going to get together,” Pecha said.

Despite the prices going up and the quality going down, Blankenship is trying to fulfill all of her orders, but if customers wait until the last day to order some of the upscale flowers, she might not be able to help them. She thinks that orchids will be especially hard to get.

“So, you know,” Blankenship said. “Who thought that this would trickle down to little old me on the corner of 35th and Leavenworth after the pandemic.”


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