View: The Power Of Flowers In China
November 3, 2009
Berl Thomas, an international consultant focused on expanding floriculture in China, shares an article explaining how flowers reduce mental illnesses and provides insight for floriculture potential in China:
A recent BBC News article indicated our industry has the power to heal mental illnesses. BBC News relayed a Journal of Epidemiology and Community Health study that says living near green spaces reduces mental illnesses.
Other articles have been published in the last couple years reporting related health benefits of living near green spaces, such as the effects of tree-lined streets. Doctors say a simple walk in the park can relieve stress when people come in contact with flowers, trees and grass.
In the United States, it has been reported many times that when the U.S. economy is down, the flower industry seems to be somewhat recession proof. Maybe the reason is people want to feel good and flowers help fill this void.
But the entire industry doesn't have the same response. If a plant in the U.S. has beautiful flowers, the sales seem to avoid the downturn. A green plant may not have the same effect, though.
This observation, if correct, would mean flowering potted plants, cut flowers, flowering annuals, flowering perennials and flowering landscape plants would have stronger sales compared to plants without flowers. There is also a middle-of-the-road group of plants without flowers yet have colorful foliage.
We take for granted the power flowers and green spaces have to heal the mind and create positive thinking. Office managers and staff cherish the window at their office overlooking outside green space or garden scenery. Those not fortunate to have this benefit try to bring nature inside with the use of cut flowers, flowering plants and green plants.
Not every country has the same attitude the U.S. does about reaction to a down economy. Some cultures react by not spending money on self-indulging items like cut flowers and flowering plants. Some react by only purchasing flowers for others to lift the spirits of others when someone is ill, getting married or for the holidays. In the worse cases, they do not purchase flowers at all.
Let me give you some incite as to the flower-purchasing habits in China. In China, you have a wide difference in social diversity due to income levels. My comments are not about the poor or the super rich but about the middle class that has a mobile phone, television, refrigerator, house and a new car (for the first time).
The current middle class in China has struggled to get to this level, and it has not engaged in buying flowers or other non-essential items for themselves. They do however currently purchase flowers for others as a gift. This may be something simple like a bouquet of flowers or the most expensive pot flower they can find, depending on the situation.
The number one occasion to give a gift in China is during its spring festival or Chinese New Year (it is like our Christmas). This is when every person gives a gift to their close friends, their business associates and to any government leader they have as a friend. The value of these gifts depend upon the importance that person is in their life and future.
Chinese tend to purchase the largest, most beautiful and most expensive pot flower they can find for their most important friends and business relationships during Spring Festival. In recent years, Phalaenopsis orchids, bromeliads and anthuriums are examples. The Phalaenopsis sold during this holiday can range from a single plant in a pot to up to four plants per pot and up to eight stems per pot. Each stem typically has a minimum of four to six open flowers per plant to give a dramatic display of flowers. The demand for Phalaenopsis has exceeded supply for the past two or three years.
Other flower purchasing events are weddings and new business openings. When a middle class couple gets married, it spends as much as it can afford and has a wedding reception where guests give the couple money as a gift (not flowers). The couple will hire the largest limousine to take them to the wedding and around the city to show off their wedding day. The limo is decked out with flowers, and every car in the wedding procession is decked with flowers also.
What are the general trends for the flower industry in China? The Chinese government has and continues to embrace the use of flowers throughout China. The Olympic Games last year is an example where the government had more than 40 million pot flowers in Beijing and another 60 million pot flowers in cities throughout China.
During their National Day Holiday there were major flower shows throughout China, including the seventh China Flower Expo in two locations. Whenever there is a flower show open to the public, millions of people turn out to see the exciting displays of flowers.
When people see the beauty of flowers, regardless of country or culture, they are happier, more peaceful, think more positive - and, as we see from the BBC News article, healthier.
The Chinese government is the largest purchaser of pot flowers and landscape plants in China for city parks, industrial developments and housing developments.
China is a developing country with some of the richest people in the world and some of the poorest. However, the Chinese government is to be commended for its use of flowers and setting an example of how to lift the spirits of its people during this development period.
The power of flowers can help control not only the spirit of the people but the power of positive thinking. The investment in the flower industry in China brings beauty to its citizens, tourists and business people that visit cities embracing the use of flowers.