SUDBURY -- Florists in Sudbury say the demand for flowers is still blooming, even 11 months into the pandemic.

With Valentine’s Day a week away, flower shops are preparing for the busiest day of the year, and encouraging their customers to order in advance.

“It’s very important to order early,” said Karen Halverson, manager of Lougheed Flowers in Sudbury. "If I have to reorder flowers, it may be a problem. The earlier you can get your order in, the better."

The most popular flower on Valentine’s Day is the red rose, but this year it’s the hardest for flower shops to get.

Roses are imported from Ecuador, but because of COVID-19, international flights aren’t landing in Ontario as often as they were before the pandemic.

“Once we sell out of things, it may be more difficult to get more in because of course, everyone is scrambling right now,” said Halverson.

There's a shortage now

“There is a shortage right now from Ecuador and other places bringing the stock in. The growers cut back with their growing because of the pandemic, so everything has been a bit tight.”

Flower Towne in New Sudbury, has taken a different approach this year. Senior florist Josee Frappier told CTV News her shop is only selling certain bouquets, and asking customers to not be as specific this year.

“We have kept it very limited, Frappier said. “If you want a choice of roses or mixed flowers, we try to use what is best in season and what we have. There’s no 'I need three roses, two tulips.'

“There is no super specific orders anymore. If they want to do something super specific, they need to realize it’s a pandemic. We can only work with what we have.”

Lougheed Flowers said they don’t expect to have a shortage of flowers come the 14th, but staff is asking customers to be "flexible and understanding."

"Be flexible -- sometimes you have to be flexible with this pandemic,” said Halverson. “You might have to have a different colour or a different variety of flower. Generally speaking, we should be able to accommodate most people.”