Follow the Flower: What It Takes to Import Flowers for Valentine's Day

Seasonal workers check the quality of flowers before they go out for Valentines Day.
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Millions of flowers are expected to arrive at Miami's International Airport for Valentine's Day, the Super Bowl for flower importers in the U.S. and for growers in Latin America. UPS alone estimates that in the 20 days leading up to V-Day, it processes more than 3,000 tons of flowers. This is three times the normal amount during off-season.

Most of the flowers we give and receive on Valentine's Day in the U.S. come from Colombia and Ecuador, and it takes between 5-8 days for the flower to go from a farm in South America to the hands of your loved ones anywhere in the U.S.

Here's how it works.

Day 1 Photo: Carolina Garcia

The flower is cut from a farm in Colombia. It's processed, selected and put in boxes.

Day 2

Photo: Ingrid Rojas

Flowers are shipped to Miami's International Airport, point of entry for 87% of the flowers that are sold in the U.S.

Day 3 Photo: Ingrid Rojas

Flowers are stored in coolers and then passed through customs inspection.

Day 4

Photo: Ingrid Rojas

Flowers are picked up by flower importers and taken to their own warehouses where they are processed. Temperature at these warehouses is kept at 36 F to keep the flowers fresh. This is the Proflowers warehouse in Doral, Florida, a few miles away from the international airport.

Day 5 Photo: Cynthia Martinez

Flowers are shipped to customers and delivered overnight.

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