Made in the USA. . .Or Not?

As I'm spending a month in Lithuania something crossed my mind.  Are the flowers we receive "made in the USA?"  Well, not really.  Unless we get the flowers from a farmer's market (which we have done before), the flowers we receive have as much international flavor as Northwest Arkansas itself.

Last summer I traveled to Guatemala and I was stunned by the beauty of the flowers there!  They had Bird of Paradise. . that grew wild!  We pay a lot of money for those flowers here in the United States.  Most of the flowers that we receive come from South American from countries such as Ecuador, Colombia, and Chile   However, we also receive flowers from Italy, Holland, and Australia.

In the United States, Florida and California are at the top of the floral growing chain but they struggle to compete with foreign countries.  The number one importer of flowers in the United States is Colombia. "Bogotá", in particular, one of our floral suppliers told me.  Colombia's premier climate makes it possible for us to have flowers such as roses, alstroemeria, baby's breath, and delphinium.

According to, 66% of flowers are produced in Colombia, 15% are from Ecuador, and 6% are from the Netherlands.  Mexico, Costa Rica, and Canada all round of the top six list of flower importers at 3% of flowers coming from those countries.

So why don't we use flowers from the United States?  Now, I'm not saying that we never use flowers from the US.  In fact, many tropical come from Hawaii.  One reason that florists search for flowers from outside the US is because of the limited growing season here.  South American countries have warmer weather all year round which makes them perfect for growing some of our favorite flowers.  European countries have a more wet, spring like climate, that make them great for growing Tulips and other US favorites.

So the next time you hold a fresh flower in your hand think to yourself "this flower traveled perhaps thousands of miles to be placed in an arrangement especially for me."