A supermarket chain has reported a more than 300% surge in sales of gladioli compared with last year, as shoppers seek “more affordable bouquets” amid the cost-of-living crisis.
The bright blooms can be priced cheaply partly because they are fairly low maintenance to grow.
Tesco said it has sold 60,000 bunches of the flowers so far this year, up on the 14,000 during the same time period in 2022, including imported bouquets before the UK season started.
The supermarket charges £1.99 for a bouquet of five stems, making them the cheapest seasonal flower from July until earlier October when the gladioli season ends.
Lincolnshire-based grower Colin Martin, who supplies Tesco and is the biggest grower of gladioli in Europe, said this year “could well be a record year” for gladioli.
“This year I’m growing 33 million plants with 10 different coloured varieties,” he said.
“The reason the price can be kept low is because they are fairly low maintenance as well as the scale of volume that we grow.
“There are also relatively fewer miles and travel costs involved as they are grown in the UK, and here in Lincolnshire we have wonderful soil that retains water well.
“So far the growing season hasn’t been too bad and right now we are getting just about the right amount of sunshine and rain so the quality overall is really good.”
Mr Martin has been producing gladioli, as well as daffodils, peonies and sweet Williams, on his farm in Moulton Chapel near Spalding for 20 years.
He said gladioli are seeing a revival in popularity, and that when he first started supplying Tesco two decades ago he produced four million gladioli a year for the supermarket, compared with nearly 20 million annually now.
He not only grows them but also works to develop new varieties that are in demand for the UK market.
Tesco flower buyer Georgina Reid said: “We are currently seeing shoppers looking for more affordable bouquets and gladioli ticks all the boxes as they are big, bold and colourful and, most importantly, are really great value.
“We started seeing a slight uplift last summer but over the last few months demand has been really strong and is growing by the week.
“Glads, as they are often called, have such a colourful presence that people are obviously seeing them in the homes of friends and family, finding out the great price and then buying them for themselves.”