Why are some flowers so expensive?
Growing flowers to sell is a humbling experience. I was at the Farmers Market this past weekend and their flower vendor had prices that were less than my wholesale prices. The flower quality was also markedly different from mine but there were still plenty of people buying them. If you are accustomed to buying flowers from the local grocery store or a farmers market you might not be aware that there is a higher grade of flower. With ranunculus there is a huge difference in cost and product of the different kinds of corms (the tiny octopus looking things that grow the plants). The most costly corms are cloned varieties that come with a patent fee and a price that is 4 or more times the cost of the corms you can find at Home Depot garden section or other gardening store. They have been raised until prime conditions and are guaranteed to be free of disease, grow the largest flowers you can grow, and come in forms and colors that are otherwise unavailable. I go into this more specifically in the previous post about Ranunculus.
The same scenario applies with other kinds of plants though maybe not so dramatically. Tulips bulbs have a wholesale cost and a retail cost. Wholesale is always going to be less than retail but if you are a small scale grower you might not buy sufficient quantity to get the wholesale prices. You need to grow at least 100 of a specific variety to purchase wholesale (and have a business license). If you grow at a large scale, you get bulbs (and soil, and water and everything else) at a much better rate. Small scale growing is in a weird spot between wholesale and retail. Many of my bulbs or plugs I purchase through wholesale distributors but most of my supplies (soil, water, and everything else) I buy at retail prices. This automatically means I need to charge more to cover my expenses. One of the benefits of growing at a small scale is the time I can spend with the plants. I can identify pest problems when hand picking still works reasonably well. I have a relationship with each of my plants. My hands touched every one of them, either from the time they were seeds or plugs to transplant out in the beds. I take my time with my plants. Part of what you are paying for when you buy flowers from me is that I'm slow :) That's not entirely a joke. I tend my soil and my plants with great care. I'm not doing this from an efficiency standpoint. I'm doing this to create a flower inspired ecology of beneficial insects and lizards and birds, soil microbiota, and plants. It's a different measure. It might be possible to do everything with the least amount of time and the least amount of money as possible but that isn't what makes the petals on my tulips glow or gets a highly curated collection of unique flowers together. The price of my flowers might be higher but the cost (to ecosystems, employee well being, soil health, etc) of those less expensive stems is much greater.
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