Numerology: The Business of Roses


An English breeder spent about $5.5 million and 14 years to cultivate the apricot-colored Juliet,the most expensive ever to be privately developed.

On Valentine’s Day 2008, 214 million roses were sold in the U.S. That year, 59% were red. Around Valentine’s Day rose prices typically spike 42%.

A new rose name may have a maximum of 10 syllables and 30 letters, a rule set by the International Cultivar Registration Authority to curb names like Souvenir de la Princesse Alexis Swiatopolk-Czetwertinski.

After 18 years of research, the Japanese firm Suntory did something that had long been thought impossible. It created blue roses, inserting a pansy gene into the mauve Cardinal de Richelieu.

The potential market for blue roses, which will hit flower shops this year, is estimated at $303.5 million annually.

There are more than 15,000 different rose species & cultivars (cultivated varieties) worldwide.

In 1979, only 7% of all cut roses sold in the U.S. were imported. Today, more than 90% are. Two-thirds of those 1.5 billion-plus foreign-born stems come from Colombia.

The rose is the state flower of four states: Iowa, North Dakota, New York, and Georgia.

In 1898, a single rose went for $3.75 at New York florists. Adjusted for inflation, that’s about $93.

The average price of a dozen long-stemmed red roses last year: $80.

To select the cultivar that would bear her name, Barbra Streisand auditioned three hybrid teas for two years in her garden, which has 1,200 roses. “Barbra Streisand” is a lavender hybrid tea with a pink blush.