If you give or receive any flowers this Valentine’s Day, they were most likely imported from somewhere with a much warmer climate and lower wages than the United States. On Valentine’s Day, when tradition demands that massive amounts of roses be ready all at once, many of the flowers delivered or aavailable for sale may have come from Kenya, which has a great climate for delivering roses in mid-February, and has less demand from its recent biggest customers.
The Netherlands are a temperate outlier here, but most of the major flower-supplying nations are cool and elevated. Ecuador and Colombia are notable growing spots, and the Associated Press interviewed one of the women growing your flowers about her work.
While the 29-year-old single mother spends all day tending beautiful flowers, no one has ever sent her any. “We do not really do this here in Kenya,” she told the AP, but that doesn’t mean that she wouldn’t like some. She works hard with the rose bushes every year, earning the local minimum wage of $80 per week.
In the past, Russia has been a big customer of flowers from Kenya, but a combination of that country’s war with Ukraine and a generally weak ruble mean that they’re forced to find other markets.