Dating back to ancient Greece and Rome, the carnation is a traditional, all-occasion flower that is often included in fresh flower bouquets and floral arrangements. The flower is easy to grow and inexpensive to buy. Carnations are sold any time of the year, but especially popular during holidays such as Mother’s Day and Valentine’s Day. These flowers grow best in moderate climates that do not experience extreme hot or cold temperatures.
Flower growers in Florida, California and other regions located in the western and southern United States once produced many of the nation’s cut flowers. However, the times have changed and there has been a shift in much of the fresh flower market from domestic to foreign producers. The Latin American country of Columbia produces the majority of the cut flowers sold in the U.S. each year. Carnations and roses rank among Columbia’s leading export flower crops. In fact, Columbia is the leading international exporter of fresh cut carnations, reports the International Society for Horticultural Science. Ecuador also grows many of the flowers sold commercially in the U.S.
Commercial Flower Industry
Flower producers in South America and other countries located closer to the equator can grow flowers throughout the year. In the U.S., fewer daylight hours and the need for heated greenhouses make it more expensive to cultivate flower crops like carnations during the winter months. The climate in countries like Columbia and Ecuador is suitable for growing flowers year-round. Cheaper labor costs in these countries also helps to keep down the cost of cultivating flower crops.
Importing flowers from other locations in the world makes it possible to buy fresh cut flowers like carnations any time of the year. Flower wholesalers and florists no longer have to worry if a particular flower is in season or available from domestic farmers. Thanks to flower imports from Columbia and other warm-weather climates, carnations and most other popular varieties of flowers are available to flower buyers year-round.
There are two kinds of carnations that consumers buy. The standard carnation is a single bloom on one stem. Mini carnations, also known as spray carnations, usually have three to five blooms on one stem. Standard and miniature carnations, roses, and chrysanthemums make up most of Columbia’s fresh flower exports. One of Columbia’s best foreign markets, the United States purchases more than 80 percent of all the cut flowers the country sells abroad. Although carnations are available in an assortment of different colors, red, white and pink are common colors of carnations that sell well. Florists also dye the flowers in colors associated with particular holidays and other special occasions.