|Why Valentine's flowers cost so
|By Dana Dratch
Whatever you do on Valentine's Day, don't forget the
If you're buying blooms for Feb. 14,
you're in good company. Consumers purchased 180
million roses in 2005 and 189 million roses were
produced for the big day in 2006, according to figures
from the Society of American Florists.
Most popular: the traditional red rose. "It's
basically a red-rose holiday," says Don Howell, operations
manager for Pajaro Valley Greenhouses in Watsonville, Calif.
And there's a reason for that.
The red rose "traditionally signifies love,"
says Jennifer Sparks, vice president of marketing for the Society
of American Florists.
While red remains the best seller by far, "We
are seeing other colors are popular as well: pink, peach or salmon,
and yellow," says Sparks, who adds that mixing various colors
of roses is also gaining in popularity.
Gerald Prolman, CEO of OrganicBouquet.com,
a national online retailer of organic flowers, agrees. "We're
finding a very large trend, a shifting trend to specific colors
of roses," he says. "I would say that in terms of volume,
45 percent of roses will be red and 55 percent will be different
Buying for someone other than a sweetie? Or maybe
you're not quite ready to proclaim your passion with roses? Tulips,
carnations and lilies are also big sellers on Feb. 14.
While roses account for 56 percent of the cut flowers
sold on Valentine's Day, a mixed arrangement is the second most
popular choice with 23 percent, according to a 2005 Society of American
"Basically anything that's red or pink,"
says Christine Boldt, executive vice president of the Association
of Floral Importers of Florida. "When you go into the store,
Valentine's Day is red or pink. And, in a lot of arrangements what
you see will be red, white and pink."
A little green
But if you're thinking red, white or pink, chances are you could
be more than a little worried about your own green. Last year, a
dozen roses from a florist averaged about $70 excluding delivery,
according to Sparks. That's not expected to change this year, she
But if you think the price of roses goes up at Valentine's
Day, you're not imagining things.
"It's the most expensive time" to buy roses,
says Sparks. "Everybody wants roses on one single day in the
middle of winter."
At the same time, growers, importers, suppliers and
retailers claim that no one's getting rich from all those flowery
tokens of romance.
"In reality, nobody's making more money at the
holiday," says Boldt. "It just costs more to get the product
Because there is so much volume, the airlines have
to add extra planes, she says. Trucking lines add extra routes and
drivers and importers are on call 24/7 to collect the flowers as
they arrive. Florists, who might do as much as eight to 10 times
their normal business on the holiday, often need extra staff to
meet the demand.
In addition, to stimulate plants to produce on that
target date, growers often have to "pinch" their plants
in November or December, sacrificing an earlier crop. "A lot
of times growers will lose a lot of roses to have enough to fulfill
demand for the one single day in February," says Sparks.
"So it's not just because everybody wants to
double the price or triple the price," Boldt says. "It's
because the costs all along are doubled or tripled for a one-day