Eruption, wet weather causing shortage of flowers used to make lei

Local News

Graduation season is officially upon us and florists across the state are scrambling to meet demand.

However, Mother Nature and Madame Pele are having an effect on supply.

This weekend is especially busy since Mother’s Day is on Sunday. We’re told some customers may not find what they’re looking for.

Graduation season is upon us and that means it’s all hands on deck inside Wantanabe Floral.

“When UH and Mother’s Day falls on the same weekend, it compounds the business and availability of certain flowers but we’re ready as best we can be,” said Monty Pereira, general manager of Wantanabe Floral.

Employees are hard at work to keep up with orders.

“We normally have about 60 people in the building. We’re double that for this weekend. We’ve got a team of 20 on the road to deliver products to mom for today and tomorrow and the rest will be in the store to fulfill that,” Pereira said. “By the end of tomorrow, we’re going to have about 3,000-5,000 orders.”

Pereira said his team will make about 50,000 lei over the next few weeks but they might look a little different.

“You’re going to notice that there are not going to be as many tropical flowers in the public. There’s not going to be many pikake lei, and micro-ginger lei, those type of fragrant lei that we normally would have for graduation and Mother’s Day,” he said.

Florists across the state are dealing with a shortage for certain flowers due to rainy weather over the last several weeks.

The recent flooding on Kauai and the eruption on the Big Island will also have an impact on supply.

“The local maile lei either comes from Kauai or Big Island and the rains on Kauai has made it very challenging to pick,” Pereira said. “Now the volcanic eruption on the Big Island where maile really is up in the volcano area is making it very hard to pick so the supply of maile is a little bit depleted as well.”

Pereira said there’s still plenty of alternatives to choose from.

Wantanabe Floral will have extended hours on Saturday and prices for lei start as low as $6.

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