Flower business blossoms, thanks to two festive occasions

Many flock to florists to buy bouquets for Valentine's Day or plants for Chinese New Year

After picking up a bouquet of pink roses for his wife yesterday for Valentine's Day, Mr Raphael Chin purchased a second bouquet of red roses for his mother-in-law.

This was for a different reason, the father of two explained.

"I usually don't buy flowers for my mother-in-law, but she has been a great help to us recently, coming over almost every day to help us with our newborn and the housework, and I feel grateful and wanted to show her my appreciation," said Mr Chin, 36, an assistant director for human resources.

"Mother's Day is too far away and words are cheap, so I thought that this season of Valentine's Day and Chinese New Year was a good chance to show filial piety too."

With Valentine's Day yesterday and the start of Chinese New Year tomorrow, people have been swarming like bees to florists, who reported an uptick in sales of bouquets and potted plants.

Ms Lindt Tan, owner of florist 85 Flowers in Bedok, said the double celebration sparked a 30 per cent increase in sales from last year. Lilies and roses were the popular picks for bouquets this year, she said.

"Some of my customers bought bouquets for their wives or girlfriends, and ended up purchasing an additional bouquet for their mothers for the reunion dinner," she said.

Over at Island Group Landscape and Nursery in the Thomson area, which sells potted plants, retail manager Ivan Wee said sales were up 10 per cent to 15 per cent compared to last year, when Chinese New Year fell on Jan 28.

The celosia and kalanchoe plants, which are usually not sold outside of the festive Chinese New Year season, have been popular, he said.

He explained that celosia symbolises "proceeding upwards", while kalanchoe represents an auspicious "thousand blooms".

"Potted plants are always popular because the Chinese believe in having something that blooms during the first day of Chinese New Year," Mr Wee said.

Traffic marshals from Certis Cisco had to be roped in yesterday to manage traffic outside nurseries in Thomson along Olive Road.

Mr Peter Cheok, director for sales and marketing at Far East Flora, said more people are expected today in a last-minute shopping frenzy.

Mr Cheok said: "Plants add a colourful festive touch to homes, and it is often the auspicious connotations behind each festive plant that endears them to customers as everyone hopes for good fortune, blessings and a good start to the new year."

While sales of potted plants at Far East Flora are on track, a spokesman said bouquet sales have declined by between 5 per cent and 10 per cent.

"Based on the sales from the last five years, when Valentine's Day and Chinese New Year fell within the same week, we would see a slight decline in sales for either one of the occasions," she said.

"We attribute this decline in sales to customer behaviour. We believe that customers tend to focus on one occasion instead of both - especially when they are so close to each other."