90% Of Valentine’s Day Flowers ‘Layover’ In Miami

February 14, 2024

If you ask general consumers, ‘Where do flowers come from?’ they think they’re from somebody’s backyard.

Executive vice president of the Association of Floral Importers of Florida, Christine Boldt. However, according to United States Customs and Border Patrol, around 18,000 tons of Valentine’s Day flowers come through the Miami International Airport.

Why It Matters: Is the Miami International Airport the most romantic place in America? Some might think so, as 90% of U.S. imported cut flowers first arrive at the South Florida airport before being transported elsewhere for Valentine’s Day.

Behind The Scenes: Foreign nations grow the majority of flowers bought in the U.S., with chrysanthemums and hydrangeas from Colombia, and roses and carnations from Ecuador being some of the most imported flowers this season. In fact, Avianca, a Colombian airline, doubles its amount of daily cargo flights during the month leading up to Valentine’s Day.

CBP agricultural specialists process incoming floral deliveries. Before entering the country, agricultural products from any nation must be inspected for harmful diseases or pests. Through February 8th, agricultural specialists processed 832 million stems of cut flowers and 75,000 cut flower sample boxes, catching 1,100 plant pests, according to Miami International Airport’s CBP port director Danny Alonso.

Alonso described Valentine’s as “one of the most demanding times of the year for our staff here.” Another busy time for flower deliveries? Mother’s Day (on May 12 this year).

Carlos Oramas, co-founder and chief executive of flower importer Gems Group, added, “There’s a story that will go with each of these bouquets. That we could be part of such an intimate moment in so many parts around the country — it’s quite a blessing.”

Read More:

Love (and 460 million flowers) are in the air for Valentine’s Day, but not without a Miami layover (The Associated Press)

Roses Are Red, Violets Are Blue, Through Miami’s Airport Yours Probably Flew (The New York Times)

by Sarah Pinkerton, based in Paris