‘Ognissanti Chrysanti’; a production and sales recap on Italy’s quintessential remembrance flower

The Chrysanthemum has long been a symbol of love and remembrance, with demand in Italy for spray, disbudded and pot mums the greatest around All Souls’ (Ognissanti) and All Saints’ (i Morti).  Asproflor, the trade association for ornamental horticulture in Italy’s northwestern Piedmont region, has the details.

Despite the relentless heat wave and lack of rain this summer, and more recently, the soaring commodity prices hitting consumers’ wallets in a big way, Italy’s ‘ognissanti crisanti’ have fared reasonably well.

According to Asproflor, overall quality has been excellent. But high light intensity this summer caused some varieties to land in florist shops, street markets and supermarket shelves later than usual.

Asproflor compliments the country’s growers on their achievements in a crop notoriously known for being labour-intensive, lengthy and requires careful planning.

In the run-up to 1 and 2 November, when Italians flock to graveyards in their thousands to pay respect to those who have died, Italian sales outlets saw an influx of spray Chrysanthemums which sold between 1,30- 2,00 € per stem. Disbudded varieties changed hands for 3,50- 6,50 € per stem. Garden mums in a 12 and 20/23 cm pot retailed between €4 -€5 and €15 – €20, respectively.

Total national supply volumes of pot mums accounted for 9 million pots in varying sizes, 10 million stems of spray chrysanthemums, and 7 million disbudded varieties, representing a 10 per cent drop in production compared to last year.

“Italy has deep roots in Chrysanthemum growing, and the flower continues to be a top selling and widely used product to commemorate those who have died,” notes Sergio Ferraro, president of Asproflor and Comuni Fioriti, Italy’s annual community in bloom competition.

According to Ferraro, Chrysanthemums make up 25 per cent of the annual turnover of Italy’s seasonal Chrysanthemum growers who combine the golden flower with other crops. Asproflor values the total retail value at €250 million per year.

Sicily, Puglia, Campania and Lazio are the leading production regions regarding cut Chrysanthemums. In turn, Liguria, Toscana, Piedmont, Veneto and Lombardy are the regional heartlands of pot mum production.

In Piedmont alone, an estimated 100 nurseries grow around 800,000 stems of cut Chrysanthemums and 1.5 million pot mums annually on a combined area spanning 70ha.

“Ognissanti is always an extremely busy period for grower and retailers. Fortunately, great autumn weather ensured a timely delivery of products and brought many people outside to pay their respects to their beloved ones,” says Ferraro.

But balmy autumn days with summer-like temperatures cannot hide the dark clouds that hang over the country’s ornamental horticulture sector. “Soaring commodity prices, climate change; growers are navigating multiple crises. The most significant challenge, apart from riding the vagaries of the weather, are the social, business and economic changes post-pandemic. However, I am confident that thanks to the many generations of expertise, Italian flower and plant growers will continue to deliver a top quality product to the market. A product with much added value. Bringing much joy to the people and awakening nature consiouscness. Nature and natural products such as flowers and plants create certainty in an uncertain world. Nature will never disappoint us with blooms punctually arriving at each season. Heralding a better future.”

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