REAL vs. ARTIFICIAL FLOWERS

The Wedding is one of the most memorable days in anyone’s life. And one of the most important elements of any wedding is flowers. They are an integral part of the wedding decor. No one can imagine a wedding without flowers. Wedding flowers will be noticed and remembered by guests for years to come. Many bridal families look for an alternative to fresh flowers and opt for artificial or silk wedding flowers. Indian floral market is full of high-quality versions of silk flowers that look incredibly real. It completely relies on the personal choice of the bride, the bride’s family, and friends if they want to go for real fresh flowers or the fake ones.Most families have a common query “can we use artificial flowers in place of the real ones?” The answer from the event planners are very obvious; “yes” you can definitely use silk or artificial flowers in place of fresh ones for many reasons. There are numbers of reasons to select artificial wedding flowers over real fresh flowers. The most basic reason is durability as they don’t wilt and go for days without any dullness. It’s difficult to decide fake or real flower from a distant place so people choose as per their preferences and needs. In most cases, real fresh flowers are used up till 6 feet, and beyond that are all plastics flowers, mostly imported from China. Some reasons why plastic flowers are chosen, replacing fresh flowers in Indian wedding is the budget. Another factor is the availability of fresh flower as per the theme of the wedding.

PROS and CONS of fresh and fake wedding flowers:

Real wedding flowers appear much more attractive than the silk flowers. They are unique and authentic in looks and delicate to touch.

Let’s first look at the pros and cons of Real flowers.

PROS:

  • Well, real is real. There is no doubt what so ever, that nothing can be better than real fresh flowers as part of the wedding decor.
  • Real flowers are eco-friendly.
  • Most people think that real flowers are expensive. Well, that’s not true. Most of the times, it’s the arrangement that is expensive than the flower itself.
  • When you’re using real flowers in your wedding, they are picked just for you. Unlike the fake ones which are reused.

CONS:

  • The artificial flowers are comparatively lighter in weight.
  • The price of real flowers completely relies on the season.
  • Real Flowers are expensive during offseason.
  • Availability of flowers in a specific colour and size.

PROS and CONS of artificial/fake flowers:

PROS:

  • Cost effective.
  • Available in desired colour size and quality.
  • Can be used at multiple events
  • Available around the year (non-seasonal)

CONS:

  • Although artificial flowers may last longer than real flowers, they miss the beauty of the real ones.
  • Most artificial flowers simply don’t look real. Even from a distance, the fakeness of them is clear and that takes away from their attractiveness.
  • Since fake flowers are used at multiple events, dust that can collect on them over time and make them look even worse!
  • And most importantly, fake flowers send a wrong message.

One of the main reasons people choose fake/plastic flowers over real flowers is that they are cheap. They see fake flowers as being more cost-effective because they last longer and because they cost less. But the family, the bride and the groom do really spend a fortune for their wedding. And what they end up with is plastic flowers which were used for someone else’s wedding a week ago. And who is profiting in this deal? Unfortunately, that’s the worst message to be sending if you’re giving flowers as a gift. No one ever says, “I love you so much that I decided to find the least expensive present possible.” Or, at least, they shouldn’t say that.

When you talk about the cost, the difference between artificial and real flowers, then there may not be a huge gap. The costing directly depends on the arrangement of the flower. If the flowers are arranged by you, it will be cheaper but you will surely compromise in presentation, it’s best to go for a professional arrangement, but it will be costly. Always remember, it’s not only and always the flower you are investing in, but the professional expertise in arranging them.  Many of the experts play with either real or fake flowers but there are few who are master in playing with both together. If you are an over-possessive bride and needs to have everything real and unique, then you can go for real fresh flowers.

When it is about artificial flowers, you don’t need to think twice about seasons as it is easily available throughout the year. Use it and forget about it as it is highly durable so your decorations can last for years.This very quality of plastic flowers is harmful to the environment. As we all know plastic is one of the dangerous pollutants.Then there is an aspect that people don’t consider at all while selecting flowers for their wedding, be it real or plastic. Our farmers! Indian wedding market is a $50 billion (around 33,000 crores) market. And if we consider flowers as even 1 per cent of the total expense, it would be around 330 crores. We can help our farmers instead of spending it on fake flowers from China. Indian farmers are pushing the Govt. of India to increase the import duties of or ban the import of plastic/fake flowers. A letter from Brij Mohan Khaganwal, founder, Birju Phool Mandi App and association of flower growers and flower shop owners have written a letter to the Prime Minister of India in this matter.

We will like to end it with a quote from Mr. Jafar Naqvi, President, iFlora. As he puts it, even the most expensive plastic flower emits poisonous fumes and even the cheapest flower emits freshness. We rest our case.

Challenges before the Indian Floral Market

India is rich in agro-climate areas and bio-diversities. Climate change has a direct impact over the flowering plants especially in the commercial production done under the open field conditions. In the booming span, the flower production is damaged directly with the impact of excessive cold, heat, unpredictable or continuous rainfall or storm.

Climate change impact over the flowering plants is becoming apparent. Altering temperature affects the growth of flowers mainly ornamental plants. Drought can be a challenge in the areas with low rainfall and high temperature that results in fading of colour, petal shedding in budding flowers. Open area cultivation is highly prone to pests, diseases, nematodes, and weeds that affect the production. No matter what and how good the cultivation, these factors always leads to drawback. The low yield occurs even due to a slight change in temperature and humidity that results in increasing pathogens and insects.

Infrastructure related challenges

Being the 2nd largest market in terms of flower consumption, India still lacks some basic infrastructure like an air conditioned flower market. The production-related challenges are associated to ground level issues like unavailability of enough infrastructure, quality species of planting material and identical manures or fertilisers. Other big hindrances are less knowledge of high yield varieties, the proper dose of fertilisers, correct use of pesticides and soil testing. The floriculture production is even badly affected by lack of skilled labour for cultivation and plant protection before and after harvesting of flowers. Ageing plantations further adding to the woes of producers in this market.

Marketing and export-related challenges

While calculating the net profit of the production, flower marketing is the main problem. The marketing of floriculture produce faces various challenges like grading, assembling, packaging and transportation. From the marginal farmers to the large-scale exporters, there are many constraints related to the marketing and export of the flowers and other floral products. Major challenges faced by Indian exporters are related to product diversification, innovation, vertical integration, and environmental changes. Logistics is even turning into a critical factor with the rapid involvement of the supermarket in floral trade for the Indian floral exporters. For flower’s export, air freight rates are very exorbitant as compared to many other flower producing countries like Kenya, Ethiopia & Ecuador where government policies are favourable for trade.

Inspite of all these challenges, Indian producers and customers find this as an exciting market which has a lot of potential.