This is why gardening supplies in Germany are becoming scarcer and more expensive

Corona has made gardening a popular pastime. But that's not the only reason why plants, bark mulch or garden gnomes are becoming scarce. Another reason is causing bottlenecks - and higher prices.

In Corona times, many Germans spend their holidays on balconies - or in their own garden. Because traveling is difficult or impossible. But now there is a shortage of home gardening supplies, such as garden gnomes, bark mulch and green plants. Several business associations confirm this on t-online inquiries.

There are several reasons for the bottlenecks. The most important: the high demand. “People sweeten their stay at home by designing their garden,” says Jörn Brüningholt from the trade association for DIY, building and gardening (BHB) to t-online.

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Many people would have had because of short-time working or Home Office simply more time they spend in the garden. "You are looking for a vacation spot in your own garden." 

"There will definitely be bottlenecks"

Olaf Beier also sees this development. He is on the board of the Federal Association of Retail Gardeners (BVE) and runs a garden center himself. "The demand is extremely high," said Beier in an interview with t-online. "There will definitely be bottlenecks."

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In many places, spring plants were already sold out at Easter. He means pansies or horned arrows, i.e. plants, that are frost-proof. "Usually these flowers are still available until the end of April."

In practice, that means: "Anyone who wants to put colorful flowers in the garden will have a problem," says Beier. And so it will continue: "We expect a high demand for summer flowers as soon as the frost has stopped."

Other gardening supplies could also become scarce and prices could rise. "Bark mulch and potting soil are on average four percent more expensive, ”says Beier. In addition to the increased demand, this is also due to more expensive raw materials. "The dealers will certainly not pass the prices on to the customers one-to-one."

Container prices have risen significantly

But bottlenecks and price increases are not only threatening plants and plant requirements. This also applies to other products for the home garden, for example garden gnomes or other decorative products.

In addition to the high demand, another price driver plays a role: global freight traffic, which has come under pressure due to Corona. Container prices have risen sharply recently, which is why, for example, the cost of grapes from India rose.

“On the one hand, because of the Corona pandemic the ships are processed more slowly because fewer staff worked in the ports ”, the supplier representatives“ Industrieverband Garten ”and the“ Manufacturers Association of House and Garden ”recently announced. "On the other hand, countries like China or Vietnam increased production again due to increased demand for goods."

Suez blockade continues to have an effect

In East Asia, the economy is recovering much more strongly after Corona than in Europe, for example. Most recently, this development had also led to rising pulp prices, which could lead to more expensive toilet paper in Germany.

The consequence of this development: Many containers got stuck in locations where nobody could use them - and were either missing or had to be sent back to Asia at great expense. The problem is exacerbated by the accident of the container ship "Ever Given" and the days-long blockade of the Suez Canal at the end of March, as the associations further announced.

The Suez Canal has long been free againbut the problems still lingered. Hundreds of freighters waited temporarily in front of the waterway, which is important for world trade, or took a detour via the southern tip of Africa. Many ships are only expected in the European ports soon.

"Deep red losing business"

Because so many containers are currently missing, "prices are exploding". If new freight orders were accepted at all, "then at historically high rates that are up to 400 percent and more above the usual freight price," the garden suppliers say.

For the suppliers of gardening and hardware store products this results in "a deep red loss-making business", "price adjustments for the companies" are unavoidable in the long run.

It is unclear whether the dealers pass the costs on to the customers. The prices for garden gnomes, flower pots and other products for the home garden could rise significantly.

This development does not only occur in Germany. In Great Britain, too, the Garden Center Association recently reported high demand for garden items. "Gardening was very popular during the lockdown," said association chief Iain Wylie. The run on garden centers was enormous. "At the same time, we had difficult times because the supply chains came under pressure."