Texas freeze, increased demand driving tropical plant shortages in St. Louis area

BALLWIN, Mon – There’s a shortage of many things these days, and now you can add tropes to that list.

At Ballwin’s Greenscape Gardens, tables that are usually filled with lush tropics through June are already bare in some places and it’s only mid-May.

“Some of the more unusual hibiscus species, some of the larger elephant ears, many of our favorite palms, mandevillas, many of the things we are used to by June, we see a great shortage of over the country,” said Jen Schamber, General Manager of Greenscape Gardens.

One of the main reasons for the shortage is the historic Texas freeze earlier this year.

“That blew a large percentage of people’s landscapes. And all of the tropical growers in this area only lost tons of their crops, so all of the Florida growers the rest of the country relies on started moving all of their crops to Texas before we got a shot at them “Said Schamber.

The second reason is the result of people spending more time at home.

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“This year in 2021 and also in 2020 we have added a lot of new gardeners to the plant world. That was absolutely fantastic, but of course new gardeners will increase the demand for this plant material and the supply just won’t be there to support them all, ”she said.

The demand this year is even higher than last year.

“We noticed that the indoor plant craze has started to grow here in this area. Not only do people enjoy their indoor plants, but now that it’s spring, they venture outside and try their green thumbs outdoors,” said Shamber.

And a warning to those who don’t normally do their patio pots until Memorial Day weekend when the pools are open.

“This is definitely not the year to wait too long. Most of the vendors and garden centers around the St. Louis area say delivery will take about two more weeks. In addition, we’re going to start tidying things up a bit, ”she said.

And looks can be deceptive when it comes to inventory.

“Usually we have a lot of things in stock. We don’t have that this year. And our growers and suppliers don’t have that this year. So what you see is kind of what you will get, ”said Schamber. “For the most part, most growers say, hey, when we’re out, we’re out.”

Which is pretty unusual for the Sunshine State. And we will have to wait a while for the next tropical crop to arrive.

“Florida has never run out of tropes. And now they’re out early and we won’t see them again until March next year, ”said Schamber.

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