LONDON, ONT. -- Valentine’s Day is a day to remind your loved ones just how much you care, and one traditional way of doing that is through a bouquet of flowers.

But local florists are urging London, Ont. to make those online purchases early, to guarantee delivery or curbside pickup in time for Valentine’s Day.

“Valentine's Day is one of the busiest day of the year, and this year is no different,” says Rachel Wichman, a salesperson at Forget Me Not Flowers & More.

Wichman says that business is still booming during holidays for florists but adds that flower shipments are more limited due to COVID-19.

“With a shortage of flowers, orders in early, early, early are great.”

While florists are well-stocked prior to Valentine's Day, they may be out of stock on days before Feb. 14.

Wichman says there are a couple of reasons for this.

First, florists in Canada often source flowers from other countries, but due to COVID-19 those shipments have wilted.

“Mostly what's coming in is essential, flowers are not considered essential, they do make room for them when they can but what we are working with is mostly local. What cargo space there is on airplanes is being used for essential items such as the vaccine, in order to get the important stuff in, the flowers are taking a back seat right now.”

The second is that people are buying flowers early to deliver them to their loved ones across the city and especially in long-term care and retirement homes - thinning out the supply of flowers earlier than usual.

“There is a huge possibility there won't be anything left on Valentine’s Day, I say get your orders in by Wednesday at the latest.”

Owner of Regency Florists, Michael Gray, agrees that ordering early is better, saying “They’re here right now but you better order early.”

Michael Gray
Michael Gray, owner of Regency Flowers in London, Ont., asks customers to order early this Valentine’s Day, as seen on Monday, Feb. 8, 2021. (Jordyn Read/CTV News)

Gray adds that florist auctions and local greenhouses are great options, but says those are getting picked clean too leading up to Valentine’s Day.

“Once we’re out of supply it’s not coming anymore. A lot of the wholesalers are picking up their flowers beginning of the week and they won’t be going back to pick up more. Once they’re gone we won’t be getting more on the shelves.”

Gray says it's better to order by this Thursday to guarantee flowers.

Both Wichman and Gray add that they will offer curbside pick up on Valentine’s Day, if they have flowers left.