About 80 percent of cut flowers in the United States are imported, but the local cut flower industry in North America is growing. The number of members of the Association of Specialty Cut Flower Growers, which are primarily based in the United States, more than tripled between 2014 and 2018. According to the Agricultural Marketing Research Center, the wholesale value of domestically produced cut flowers was $374 million in 2015, up 3 percent from 2014.
“I’m thrilled to see the resurgence of cut flower production in the United States,” said John Dole, professor of horticultural sciences at North Carolina State University.
Dole has been working with the cut flower industry for more than three decades. He said the available statistics on local cut flower production barely scrape the surface of the industry’s growth. According to Dole, local growers who produce small quantities for weddings and/or add flowers to community supported agriculture boxes rarely show up in datasets.
“The biggest increase in the category has really been the farmer-florist. None of these tend to show up in the statistics,” Dole said. “It’s a wonderfully diverse industry in terms of what it grows and how it operates.”
Experts like Dole credit the blossoming cut flower industry with the resurgence of the grow local movement.
“I think it’s just part of the overall trend towards buying local,” Dole said.
Maine’s burgeoning cut flower industry is also rooted in the buy local wave as well as the proliferation of small-scale agriculture.