bundle of rosesSince the dawn of recorded history we have been collecting plants and enjoying cut flowers, but do you ever ask yourself where they came from?

Just a generation ago, the answer probably would have been from one of a myriad of flower growers throughout North America or perhaps from Holland. But, just as North America’s taste in flowers is shifting from traditional mums and carnations to more unique specialty blooms, so has their place of origin been changing in recent years. California is still America’s top cut flower producer, with Florida second for flowers and foliages. But, despite their long history of producing fresh flowers, many North American growers are no longer keeping up with foreign competition. In some cases, foreign imports accounting for 90% or more of  sales within a particular category.

This is good news for consumers, because it means an increasingly plentiful supply of fresh flowers from around the world throughout the year. Today, Columbia and Ecuador are the dominant producers of  many cut flower varieties. Both countries have exceptional climates for growing. Together, Columbia and Ecuador accounted for roughly 90% of all roses, 98% of all carnations, and 95% of all chrysanthemums sold in the U.S.

Canadian cut flower growers have begun tapping into the American market, too, exporting roughly 4.8 million stems and bunches to our southern neighbours. Even Victoria grown flowers are delivered off the island. Most people, even most locals, don’t realize that Vancouver and the Fraser Valley are home to a thriving plant and flower industry.

Millions of flowers and plants are grown annually. One grower, for example, produced more than 11 million cut roses a year. A large percentage of the flowers and plants grown here are sold at auction on the main land.

So, next time you pick up a bunch of flowers for your home or send a bouquet to someone special, consider the fact that at least some of those delicate blossoms most likely traveled half way around the globe just for you. You may not know whether they came from South America, Europe, the Orient, or even Africa, but you can be sure they passed through a lot of caring hands to carefully plant, grow, ship, design, and deliver them to you.