Blossom prices grow higher for Lunar New YearLocal | Daphne Li 11 Jan 2019
Peach blossoms this Lunar New Year will be more markedly more expensive than in 2018 due to the devastation inflicted by Typhoon Mangkhut.
The storm, which battered Hong Kong in September, wreaked havoc on many plantations.
But peach blossoms excepted, Hong Kong florists expect the prices of other blooms to be reasonable and for sales to be as steady as usual as the Year of the Pig arrives.
Sunny Lai, known as "the king of Lunar New Year flowers," said that prices of other blooms should be unchanged since most local farmers operate with contingency plans and do not sow all their seeds at once.
This is to ensure they do not take a massive hit from natural disasters like Mangkhut.
Speaking for himself, Lai said Mangkhut did not affect his operations significantly as most of his flowering plants had greenhouse protection.
And Lai also believes that the gloomy economic situation will not blunt people's willingness to spend during the Lunar New Year.
He predicts the average small family will outlay between HK$800 and HK$1,000 on flowers, while large families could fork out thousands of dollars.
Despite a labor shortage in the industry and rising transportation costs, Lai added, most flower vendors do not intend to increase their prices.
Yeung Siu-lung, another prominent source of blooms - in his case it is orchids - said Typhoon Mangkhut destroyed roofs of some of his greenhouses, but he managed to escape with minor losses.
So he will be selling 50 to 60 types of orchids in the Lunar New Year period, and none of their prices will be affected.
He also noted that peach blossoms and peonies started moving into the budding and flowering stages earlier this year due to the warmer weather. That forced many growers and suppliers to turn on air-conditioners.
As for peach blossoms, Kwok, who owns a plantation on Kam Sheung Road, said prices will indeed be increasing for Lunar New Year.
In his case, a third of his stock was destroyed when Mangkhut swept through.
Kwok also said that concern of a potential shortage of peach blossoms led many people to place orders right after the typhoon hit.
Now, he said, "prices will go up 10 to 20 percent because of the typhoon's destruction."