Price of red roses climbs as Valentine's Day nears

Price of red roses climbs as Valentine's Day nears »Play Video
Image by Flickr user ali ckel.
By this time next Monday, flower delivery trucks will be working overtime for Valentine's Day, and the flowers won't be the only things blooming. Prices are going up for certain flowers, especially red roses.

Valentine's Day is the biggest single day of the year for the flower industry, and the this year local florists hope their projections are on target. Many have drastically increased their flower orders anticipating stronger consumer spending. And with Valentines Day falling on a Monday, people will have extra time on the weekend to flower shop.

"The last time it was on a Monday, we had to call in reinforcements for deliveries," said florist Wendy Damoth at her shop in West Seattle.

By far, most Valentine's Day orders will call for red roses. To meet the expected demand, Damoth and other florists had to get her orders in to rose growers at the beginning of January, and they had to pay a premium.

"The growers have set the prices, at least 2 months ago," she said. "They establish the prices, then we have to plan accordingly."

Damoth says the majority of red roses come from growers in Ecuador or California. Starting this week, no matter which florist you call, you're wallet will feel the law of supply and demand.

Here's what I found in my random survey of 13 florists across the Puget Sound region:

• On Jan. 21, the price for a dozen red roses in a vase ranged from a low of $56 to a high of $74.50.

• Two weeks later on Feb. 4, the prices had jumped from a low of $60 to a high of $90.

• By Feb. 7, the least expensive price was at $70 with the highest at $99.50.

Damoth says growers justify raising prices, because it costs them more money to grow the larger quantities of quality roses for Feb. 14.

"They have to sacrifice multiple blooms on one rose bush just to get that one nice bloom that comes up the stem," said Damoth.

Wholesalers, in turn, mark up their prices to florists and other commercial customers, who pass along some of the added costs.

But Damoth says the increased prices you see at many local florists this time of year, are probably not as high as they would be if the full grower mark-up was passed on to you.

"We don't mark our roses up the full mark-up," she said. "If we did, I don't think that would be fair to the consumer."

Damoth says florists have to be mindful of their customer base, and provide quality options that can meet a variety of budgets. If a dozen red roses are too steep for your budget, Damoth suggests buying only a few roses and mixing them with other, more affordable flowers.

Red roses and stargazer lilies are a popular alternative. Simple presentations of red, white and pink tulips are also a favorite, as well as stems of long-lasting dendrobium orchids.

On average, our random survey found rose prices are up around $20 per dozen for Valentines Day deliveries. A typical increase was $15, but some florists raised their rose prices by $25 and $30. We found a number of florist shops have also raised their delivery fees for Valentine's Day by anywhere from $2 to $7.