When I think of flower growers I think of warm, sunny & tropical climates. Places like Columbia, Ecuador & California to name a few. But it’s time for them to move over and make room for a new flower industry that’s sprouting up in Alaska, of all places!
From Alaska you would expect to see industries such as fish, lumber or tourism, fresh cut flowers certainly don’t come to mind. However it turns out that when it comes to Peonies, the worlds most popular Wedding Flower, Alaska has an advantage over other growers. When the big players in the cut flower industries Peony growing season is over, Alaska’s is just beginning.
The newly formed trade group Alaska Peony Association says they are sitting in a good place for niche market. Alaskan growers are in a position to offer the freshest Peonies at a healthy $5.00 a stem as the other growers are no longer producing this highly demanded flower. Pat Holloway, director of the Georgeson Botanical Garden at the University of Alaska Fairbanks, a botanical research center, said “It is unheard of that someone would get three months of a market practically to themselves.” There are peonies shipped from Columbia in the same time period, but they are container-growth plants and of poorer quality than those from Alaska. “They are not competition,” Holloway said.
This budding new industry has been alive for 3 years and will soon be in a position to export worldwide, rather than just to the lower mainland states. Peonies can take up to 5 years to mature before the blooms are ready for commercial selling. Most of the new Alaska growers have been growing for 3 to 6 years. Once all of the plants are fully matured Peony lovers everywhere will have the opportunity to purchase Alaskan Peonies that are fresher, larger and prettier than their out of season grown counterparts.