CACTUS COSTS SPIKE
Buyers prickled by unscrupulous sellers
country wilted in the scorching temperatures of the hottest summer since 1976 since records began, one major industry was slammed for cashing in and making a killing while the sun shone. Responding to increased demand for their spiky, drought-loving plants, Britain’s cactus growers stood accused of more than DOUBLING their prices, leaving desperate customers fuming.
“A barrel cactus from my local garden centre would have cost me £2.99 last year when I didn’t want one, but this summer the price for that same cactus had gone up to more than a fiver,” fumed Surbiton mum-of-three Audrey Steaming. “They were ripping us off simply because there was no water to keep our other houseplants alive.”
“I had some ferns, but as soon as the taps in the house ran dry they just shrivelled up and died,” Mrs Steaming continued. “I went to buy some cactii to replace them, but the robdogs had stuck the prices up on account of the drought. And it was the same story with the prickly pears and all the other xerophytes.”
“It’s an absolute disgrace,” she added.
But Digby Lithops, chair of cactus growers’ trade body the UK Succulents Guild, refuted suggestions that his members had been cashing in on the catastrophic, superheated state of the planet’s climate. “Nothing could be further from the truth,” he told us. “The fact is, my members have a responsibility to their shareholders to maximise profits, and if that means cashing in on the catastrophic, superheated state of the planet’s climate, then so be it.”
However, Mr Lithops promised that costs would remain stable for the foreseeable future. “I can guarantee that cactus plant prices will now remain pegged at their present level on a permanent basis,” he told us. “Unless, of course, we have further droughts in forthcoming years, in which case we may have to, and indeed will, increase them again and again.”
Sharp practice: High prices for cacti is leaving consumers sore.