Hay fever rise triggers fake blooms boom
Soaring cases of hay fever are being credited for a boom in sales of artificial flowers.
In a development that will bring tears to the eyes of Alan Titchmarsh, record numbers of households are opting for artificial flowers over the real thing.
Despite the enduring popularity of the Chelsea Flower Show and TV gardening shows, more people than ever are turning to pollen-free faux flowers to solve their hay fever problems.
Online home solutions retailer House of Bath has reported an impressive 68 per cent increase in sales of artificial flowers compared to the same time last year.
The House of Bath range consists of an array of artificial flowers, varying in colours, presented in shaped vases and pots, with no traces of pollen, as well as a variety of hanging baskets which are hard to tell apart from the real thing.
Bosses at the firm put the trend down to an unseasonably mild winter, and many people experiencing an early onset of hay fever symptoms that are normally associated with the summer months.
Kay Hutcheson, head of buying at House of Bath said: 'With hayfever affecting more than 12 million people in the UK alone, it's no surprise that we have seen an incredible rise in sales of our artificial range and we are living in the Age of Faux.
"New, skillful production techniques and incredible attention to detail means that many modern fake flowers can often only be distinguished from their natural equivalents by touch.
'They're also cheaper than real flowers, are always in bloom and never need watering. And we can guarantee that none of them will ever suffer from greenfly."
The retailer's biggest sellers, which are all an extension to the range from last year due to customer demand, are roses, lavender sprigs and sweet peas in a single clear vase which has seen the line perform an overwhelming 400 per cent above forecast.
An artificial orchid in a white ceramic pot saw sales outperform forecasts by 100 per cent while a rose display in a window box performed 200 per cent over forecasts.
Ms Hutcheson said fabric faux daffodils, rose hanging baskets and an everlasting plant potter are also proving popular.
Air currents circulate the pollen released by fresh flowers, which can irritate the sinuses resulting in hay fever.
Ms Hutcheson said fake blooms enable a room or garden to be enhanced and personalised without having pollen infest the home - perfect for fighting Spring and Summer time sneezes.
She added: 'Our fake flowers are virtually identical to perfect blooms found in only in the very best florists or garden centres.
'The subtle colouring of the petals and the detail of each bloom are identical.
"They also have the advantage of requiring no watering so are ideal for people who are time poor, and who don't remember to water their plants.
'They also banish the need to lift heavy watering cans to water hanging baskets and perfect for people who want to have the joy and beauty of freshly cut flowers in their home - without the expense or the sniffles.'
Experts say that plants to avoid when in the garden if you suffer from hay fever include lilies, amaryllis, roses, Cymbidium and Rhododendrons.
Top 10 Selling Artificial Flowers at House of Bath:
1. Cottage floral display of roses, lavender sprigs and sweet peas - £14.95
2. Artificial orchid with ceramic pot - £17.95
3. Rose display in window box - £16.95
4. Daffodils in white ceramic pot - £14.95
5. Roses Hanging Baskets - £19.95
6. Everlasting Poppy Planter - £39.95
7. Fuscia Hanging Baskets - £19.95
8. Graveside Bouquet Rose and Orchid Mix - £9.95
9. Everlasting Pansy Planter - £39.95
10. Solar Bay Trees x 2 - £29.95