What it Takes to Grow a Valentine's Day Rose
How many times have you been asked by one of your customers why roses are so expensive on Valentine's Day? Why is it that red roses bought weeks before Valentine's Day almost double in price from vendors? The simple reason - Supply vs Demand. The price is determined by availability, timing of harvest, weather, shipping and labor to produce the number of roses large enough to cover the market.
To give you an idea of the effort required by farms, consider these statistics. In any given year, more than 1 billion roses are imported to the U.S. from countries around the world simply because the U.S. cannot keep up with consumer demand, especially during Valentine's Day. Some 224 million roses are grown specifically for Valentine's Day - that's 22% of the market of roses being grown to satisfy consumer demand for one day of the year. With a single rose plant producing an average of 25-30 stems per plant, it takes almost 7.5 million plants - grown, matured and harvested at just the right time to yield enough stems for Valentine's Day.
Only 10 million (about 1%) of roses are gown in the U.S. annually. Most are imported from South America. One in every three stems of roses bought in the U.S. comes from Ecuador, which is the largest producer of roses worldwide. Ecuadorian roses outperform other roses because of the country's elevation, climate and growing cycle. Roses grown at a high altitude have a growing cycle of about 15 weeks instead of the usual eight weeks. This extra time allows the flowers to pick up extra nutrients, giving them bigger blooms and longer stems. Colombia is the second largest producer of roses, followed by Ethiopia, Kenya and India.
To be considered a long stem rose, the flower must have a stem length of 24 to 36 inches and a blossom diameter of two to four inches. Ecuadorian roses fit this requirement, more so than roses grown elsewhere.
Here's a peek at Alkavat, our rose farm partner in Ecuador: