Demand for peonies surged by almost 100% in last three years, says supermarket

Demand for a type of flower said to be the Duchess of Sussex’s favourite has grown by almost 100% in the last three years, a supermarket has said.

Tesco said peonies have soared in popularity in recent years and that the chilly and rainy spring has boosted the quality of this year’s crop.

The flowers took centre stage at the wedding of the Duke and Duchess of Sussex in 2018, and Meghan used to post photographs of peonies on her now deleted Instagram account.

Peonies have been grown in the UK for around 50 years but commercial production only really started about 15 years ago and is still increasing, according to Tesco.

The main areas for UK production are the east of England with growers in Lincolnshire, Cambridgeshire, Norfolk as well as Hertfordshire.

Peonies are a spring flower and the UK season usually lasts about a month, from mid-May and into June.

Before the UK season starts they are imported from France and Italy.

Tesco said that demand has increased by almost 100% in the last three years, in part due to their popularity at weddings, and over the same period UK production of the blooms has grown threefold.

Tesco’s main grower is Bury Lane, a family-run flower farm based near Royston on the border of Hertfordshire with Cambridgeshire.

Will Clayton, managing director of Bury Lane, said: “Peonies generally need a cold winter frost and chilly spring start which helps them recover from the previous year followed by lots of warmth to bring on growth.

“Over the last few years we’ve had very mild winters so this year it’s been pretty much perfect growing conditions for peonies.

“As a result of the cold and rainy start to spring the season is about three weeks behind so unusually the UK crop should be around until early July.”

Tesco flowers buyer Georgina Reid said: “The emergence of the peony as a gifting flower has been nothing short of spectacular over the last few years and the word we’re hearing from growers is that this year’s crop will be great quality.

“The UK peony season is very short compared with other gifting flowers, lasting just over a month, so when they are in season they are extremely popular.”

Source: Express and Star