The Logistics of Delivering Fresh Roses In Time for Valentine’s Day

Shipping starts weeks before the holiday and the best flowers arrive early. But how does a flower that makes the two-week journey arrive with the splendor to light up a Valentine’s bouquet?

U.S. consumers buy the most flowers on Valentine’s and Mother’s Days.

Getting fresh roses to your Valentine takes speed, the right temperature, and skill.

Like all perishable products, florals require specific temperatures to maintain freshness.

Without the proper temperatures, flowers bloom and fade before they can be enjoyed by the recipient.

Complicating this need for the ideal temperature, flowers travel a long way from field to store. Eighty percent of all flowers sold for Valentine’s Day are shipped from Latin America, with 12% coming from domestic production and 8% arriving from other locations. In 2013, 231,466 1,000-stem-count bushels of roses were imported into the U.S. from Latin America.

Related: A Renewed Look at Doing Business in Latin America

Of these, most came from Colombia (142,252), followed by Ecuador (79,342), Guatemala (2,529), and Costa Rica (20).

Shipping starts weeks before the holiday and the best flowers arrive early. But how does a flower that makes the two-week journey arrive with the splendor to light up a Valentine’s bouquet? Shipping and temperature make all the difference.

Let’s take a look at the path of a rose, from the fields of Latin America to the hands of a loved one.

The journey of a Valentine's Rose

At each step in the process, there is a risk that the flowers will be exposed to warmer temperatures, which will cause them to break dormancy ahead of their time.

The right logistics company is instrumental in keeping both the cost and the temperature under control so the roses arrive fresh and stay that way for your Valentine for days to come.


There’re many things to coordinate for these days with high volumes on perishable goods.

As an importer your biggest challenge is to receive the flowers right on time, but taking the risk of delays in consideration. You don’t want the flowers to arrive too early, so they get old in your storage. Depending on your distribution chain, the best case scenario is to receive the products the day/night before you deliver to the flower shops.

Since you are talking about one of the busiest days in the floral industry and its related logistics departments you can not risk the flowers to be too late. So as a consequence you ship the earlier. Splitting the shipments is necessary as well, since freight space is limited in these days.

Long-term agreements with the farms you are buying your flowers are important in order to make sure you are receiving the quantity and even more important the quality you are looking for. In order to turn these days into a success a lot of strategic planning, coordination of different sectors (farms, logistics, sales, etc.), team-work and enthusiasm is necessary.

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