A flower's journey: The importance of local and in-season blooms

There are countless factors that affect the cost, availability and quality of flowers. From weather to pests to transportation issues and beyond, flower availability and prices can change literally from one day to the next.

To understand better, take a look at this summary of an imported flower’s journey to your vase:

Approximately 80 percent of flowers purchased in the U.S. are imported, often flown in from Colombia, Ecuador, Mexico and the Netherlands. More than 9,000 tons of flowers or about 16 million bouquets worldwide come from Colombia and Ecuador in a month, with 87 percent landing in the U.S. Over 90 percent of these imported flowers move through Miami International Airport. 

After touching down in Miami, the flowers are kept in a refrigerated warehouse the size of five basketball courts, where they’re manually inspected for insects and diseases. From there, the flowers are trucked across the country to wholesalers around the nation. Then, the blooms are transported to local flower shops where they are purchased by you, or possibly even transported again if they’re sent out for delivery.*

Whew.

You can see how all the labor, storage, transportation and more add to the bottom line. And aside from the cost, imported flowers aren’t as fresh because, despite best efforts to keep them cool and hydrated, they were cut a week prior.

The best way to ensure that you’ll get fresh, quality flowers that don’t contribute to the long supply chain above is to request local and in-season flowers whenever possible. By shopping for flowers locally or requesting the same of your floral designer, your blooms will last much longer. Their trip is much shorter: from the farm to the wholesaler to the shop. Not to mention, you’re supporting the livelihood of local flower farmers!

By buying in-season flowers, it means lower prices for you. Because it’s time for these flowers to grow in abundance, there’s a lot more availability, thus driving the costs down. This is one of the best ways to save on your wedding flowers.

Obviously in the winter, it’s not an option to shop locally for flowers (at least not in Michigan and other cold weather climates). During these times you can try finding flowers domestically from warm weather states if possible, otherwise you may have to turn to imports (and that’s ok!). Many tropical flowers must be imported.

If flowers are really important to you and your wedding, I recommend researching what flowers are in-season and available around the time you want to get married. Many brides flock toward spring flowers such as ranunculus and peonies, but in the fall, these are very hard to source, very expensive, and probably not great quality.

While local and in-season flowers may not always be available, we can all do our part by requesting and buying them whenever possible. <3

*Data from the Miami Herald. Photo credit.