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The rose has long been a classic symbol of romance and love, with the demand for long-stemmed roses the greatest around Valentine’s Day. This means big business for florists who sell and deliver flowers. In 2010, an estimated 198 million roses were produced for the Valentine’s Day holiday, according to the Society of American Florists. Men purchase about 75 percent of the 110 million roses sold in the U.S. at this time every year.

Top Holiday for Florists

Valentine’s Day is the number one holiday for florists, accounting for most of the industry’s fresh flower sales. Seventy-eight percent of the flowers consumers purchase for Valentine’s Day are cut flowers. With men being top customers, most who are buying long-stemmed roses for a Valentine’s Day gift are buying them for a wife or significant other, reports a 2005 Ipsos-Insight FloralTrends Consumer Tracking Study. Women also buy flowers on Valentine’s Day, often for their mothers and daughters. Some women even buy roses to send themselves.

Rose Production Although California produces 60 percent of the roses that are sold in the U.S. every year, most of the roses sold in the first weeks of February for Valentine’s Day are imported from South America. The U.S. buys more than 1 billion roses each year from overseas — mainly imported from Columbia. Because American producers are unable to grow enough roses in time to meet the increase in demand, the U.S. is forced to import some of the roses it needs for Valentine’s Day sales. Bad weather and shorter daylight hours during the winter season make it difficult to grow large crops of roses for retail distribution in February when the demand is high.

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Color of Roses

Receiving a bouquet of roses on Valentine’s Day sends a certain message. The color rose you receive says something, too. Red roses signifies passionate love, which may be why most of the roses sold for Valentine’s Day are red. In fact, 43 percent of all fresh cut flowers purchased as Valentine’s Day gifts are red roses. Another 29 percent of the roses that consumers purchase on this holiday are colors other than red. Although women generally expect to receive red roses on this special day, purple roses say, “I will always love you.”

 

Number of Roses

Valentine’s Day ranks just below Christmas and Mother’s Day in holiday floral sales. The National Retail Federation estimates that consumers will spend $1.7 billion dollars in 2011 on flowers as gifts for Valentine’s Day. Although Valentine’s Day increases the demand for long-stemmed roses, thereby increasing the price, you might want to give someone a number other than the traditional dozen. Receiving a single stem rose implies that you are the only one. Three roses stand for “I love you.” Eleven stems express the thought “I am the missing stem to make the dozen perfect.” Three-dozen long-stemmed roses mean “My heart belongs to you.”