Can the cut flower industry keep up with the demand for locally grown products?

Primrose Creations | Locally Grown Flowers

Over the last few decades, the floral industry has experienced many changes. The most notable has been the movement towards purchasing locally grown flowers. According to the 2009 Census of Horticultural Specialties, the production of cut flowers in the United States had a worth over $400 million1. Over 90 percent of these flowers were sold via wholesale market and direct sales to florists1.

From Millions to Billions

With locally and sustainably grown products gaining notoriety among their communities, it’s no surprise that the industry has grown into a multi-billion-dollar industry. The top 5 flower producing states are California, Florida, Michigan, New Jersey, and Pennsylvania, accounting for $3.10 billion, or 65 percent, of the total market value5. Cultivated cut greens had a wholesale value of $102 million in 2018 with Florida contributing 75 percent of the market5. Smaller flower producing operations have also come into focus as more individuals become aware of where their foods and services come from and why it’s beneficial to purchase closer to home. The total wholesale crop value for flower growers with $10,000 or more in sales was approximately $4.77 billion for 20185.

Growing an industry through community engagement

Most flower producers grow on fewer than 5 acres with the majority focusing on flowers that don’t ship well or have a shorter postharvest vase life, such as cosmos or poppies1. The majority of domestic cut flowers and greens are sold in the United States within 24 to 48 hours after harvest and tend to last longer than flowers shipped internationally4. Competition becomes regional and stimulates local economies. In response to increased demand for locally grown cut flowers, the “Certified American Grown Flowers” logo was created in July 2014 in order to further educate consumers as to what flowers were domestically grown4. A resolution (S. Res 208) in the U.S. Government was submitted and passed in 2019 which designated July as “American Grown Flower Month.”4 The investment into the industry goes beyond government recognition. Simple social media campaigns (i.e. #SlowFlowers) and community engagement activities (i.e. Petal It Forward, the Growing Kindness Project) haven’t gone unnoticed and have been instrumental in connecting growers and customers.

Local cut flower data can benefit business decisions

Approximately 30% of the Association of Specialty Cut Flowers Growers members surveyed in 2017 produced or handled between 13 and 18 different crops with nearly 33% producing between 1 and 12 species and 26% producing 19 or more species2. The five most commonly grown cut flowers were zinnia, peony, snapdragon, sunflower, and dahlia with 75% of surveyed cut flower wholesalers preferring stem lengths of at least 18 inches (46 cm), regardless of the species2. Knowing the competition and standards within your local community can help growers decide if niching down to single variety operations can be beneficial or if retaining the status quo makes financial sense.

Room to grow

Each year, approximately 30 percent of households in the United States purchase fresh-cut flowers and greens from more than 16,000 florists and floral establishments nationwide4. In addition, consumers in the United States spend approximately $27 billion on floral products each year4. The demand for locally grown flowers has room to grow, further adding to local economic stimulation. By 2023, the US floral gifting market is projected to have revenues of approximately $16 billion3.

Continued education and outreach are essential for long-term cut flower industry success, especially when the opportunities for advancement are endless.

1. Bogash, S. M., Ford, T. G., Kime, L. F., & Harper, J. K. (2012, December 17). Cut Flower Production. Retrieved from
2. Loyola, C. E., Dole, J. M., & Dunning, R. (2019, May 9). North American Specialty Cut Flower Production and Postharvest Survey in: HortTechnology Volume 29 Issue 3 (2019). Retrieved from
3. Research and Markets. (2018, May 22). $16 Billion US Floral Gifting Market – Industry Outlook and Forecast 2018-2023. Retrieved from—industry-outlook-and-forecast-2018-2023-300652923.html
4. Senate Passes Bipartisan Resolution Supporting American Flower Industry. (2019, July 9). Retrieved from
5. United States Department of Agriculture. (2019, May). Floriculture Crops 2018 Summary. Retrieved from
Each year, the cut flower industry in the United States produces billions of dollars in revenue. Can the cut flower industry keep up with demand?

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