Fresh Flowers – Import Sales by Country of Origin

Many consumers assume that local retailers like FTD Flowers only sell fresh flowers made in America.

After all, how can flowers imported from distant countries stay fresh long enough to be used for bouquets or other ornamental purposes?

If packed and stored properly, fresh flowers can be imported from around the world. After clearing customs, retailers cut the imported flowers into appropriate floral arrangements for delivery to local customers.

So, from which countries do the most popular types of fresh flowers originate?

Top Suppliers of Imported Fresh Roses

Americans imported $316 million worth of fresh roses in 2009, down 2.1% from 2008. Fresh roses are used in bouquets and other ornamental decorations at weddings and other special events.

  1. Colombia … US$244.7 million (77.2% of US total, up 2%)
  2. Ecuador … $60.4 million (19.1%, down 14.5%)
  3. Mexico … $5.1 million (1.6%, down 13.3%)
  4. Guatemala … $4.2 million (1.3%, up 8.4%)
  5. Kenya … $1.7 million (0.54%, up 71.9%)
  6. Netherlands … $278,278 (0.09%, down 55.7%)
  7. Costa Rica … $153,677 (0.05%, down 88.9%)
  8. Uganda … $83,420 (0.03%, up 60.9%)
  9. South Africa … $56,799 (0.02%, down 61.2%)
  10. Canada … $40,729 (0.013%, down 50.7%).

Colombia, Guatemala, Kenya and Uganda were able to grow their sales of imported fresh roses to the U.S. last year.

Top Suppliers of Imported Fresh Chrysanthemums

The following 7 countries sold $75.8 million worth of fresh chrysanthemums (also called mums or chrysanths) to American importers in 2009. This represents a 10.4% increase in demand for imported fresh mums from the prior year.

  1. Colombia … US$75.2 million (99.2% of US total, up 13.2%)
  2. Costa Rica … $378,526 (0.5%, down 76.1%)
  3. Ecuador… $195,218 (0.3%, down 67.2%)
  4. Canada … $32,707 (0.04%, down 6.1%)
  5. Gabon … $7,164 (0.01%, up from nil in 2008)
  6. Dominican Republic … $2,730 (0.004%, down 16.1%)
  7. Mexico … $2,457 (0.003%, up from nil in 2008).

Among the above fresh flower sellers, the largest supplier Colombia increased its dominance of American imported chrysanthemums by 13.2%.

Top Suppliers of Imported Fresh Carnations

Colombia also dominated the group of 4 countries that together supplied $55.9 million worth of fresh carnations to the U.S. last year. That amount represents an 11.1% slide from 2008.

  1. Colombia … US$55.4 billion (99.1% of US total, down 10.1% from 2008)
  2. Ecuador … $287,986 (0.5%, down 56.2%)
  3. Mexico … $187,843 (0.3%, down 65%)
  4. Netherlands … $11,384 (0.2%, up 44.2%).

While it is safe to say that sales of imported fresh carnations were down last year, Dutch suppliers did achieve a small gain of about $3,500.

Top Suppliers of Imported Fresh Orchids

Fresh orchids are also used in bouquets and ornamental displays. The U.S. imported $11.3 million worth of fresh orchids in 2009, down 14.5% from one year earlier.

  1. Thailand … US$6.7 million (59.4% of US total, down 4.9%)
  2. Netherlands … $3 million (26.3%, down 29.7%)
  3. New Zealand … $1 million (9.1%, no change)
  4. Malaysia … $414,564 (3.7%, up 3.5%)
  5. Vietnam … $98,438 (0.9%, up from nil in 2008)
  6. Taiwan … $29,236 (0.3%, down 67.8%)
  7. Guatemala … $23,511 (0.21%, up from nil in 2008)
  8. South Africa … $22,627 (0.2%, down 88.3%)
  9. Canada … $4,920 (0.04%, down 97.1%)
  10. Singapore … $4,884 (0.043%, down 85%).

Many of the top suppliers are countries distant from their American importers, despite the fact that nearby Canada also provides fresh orchids.

Fresh Cut Flower Sales Summary

Roses are the most popular among imported fresh flowers. In second place are chrysanthemums, followed by carnations and orchids.

Sales of imported fresh orchids and carnations went down by the highest percentages in 2009. Imports of roses experienced a mild 2.2% slowdown in sales. Imported mums represent the only fresh flower category to garner an increase, a respectable 10.4% gain.

The U.S. does import a wide variety of other fresh flowers (under harmonized tariff system code 60319). In 2009, the total imported amount for these other types of fresh flowers declined 2.7% to $297.7 million.