Commercial Flower Power: How the Global Flower Trade Continues to Blossom

Roses are red, violets are blue… and the flower industry makes a lot of green.

Chances are, you just picked up a beautiful bouquet for a very special someone earlier this week (or, better yet, a very special someone just picked up a bouquet for you). Along with heart-shaped chocolates and absurdly large teddy bears, Valentine’s Day is primetime for sweethearts to buy each other a dozen roses.

The holiday is the floriculture industry’s super bowl, a day in which a single local store can often peddle thousands of roses in just a 24-hour span.

But the flower industry is bigger than just one day, and flowers are more than just nice-looking, pleasant-smelling plants. They’re the backbone of a global industry that by some estimates trades nearly $30 billion in annual volume — and, like a faithful patch of peonies, continues to steadily grow, year-in and year-out.

And that’s what we’re looking at today: the global flower trade, with its unique set of rules, blossoming new power dynamic, and need for speed to move its product around the world.

So sit down, cover up your “black thumb” if need be, get one last whiff of the roses still clinging to life in a vase on your kitchen counter, and let’s dive right in.

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