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Álvaro Villamizar Zuñiga, Caproflor Colombia

"There is a Colombian flower for any occasion and any reason"

When visiting a flower market in Colombia, it is possible to find a wide range of floral options in all colors, shapes and sizes. Colombia is famous for producing many kind of flowers such as roses, carnations, alstroemerias, chrysanthemums, hydrangeas, lilies and many more. As a result, people buy different flowers in different colors for various occasions, and each flower and color has a significant value, explains, Álvaro Villamizar Zuñiga, Executive Director at Caproflor Colombia. In this article, he tells us more about diversity of flowers that are grown in Colombia and for which occasions they are often being used. 

Roses grow mainly in the Bogotá savanna, he says. "They are the most popular flowers in the Colombian market and come in hundreds of colors and varieties. Red roses convey a message of love and passion. Yellow roses are an expression of joy and friendship. Pink roses represent a feeling of happiness, while white roses relate to purity and innocence. It is no surprise that Colombia is the largest producer and exporter of roses in the world. The demand for roses is booming for Valentine's day celebrated in Colombia in September. Unlike many flowers, a rose stands out beautifully on its own when in a vase."

Carnations and mini carnations are known as the flower of pride and beauty, he continues. "Although they have never been at the forefront of Colombian flowers, they will always be the perfect complement to the arrangements displayed at weddings, parties and funerals. They are the flower of choice for floral designers to boost arrangements for all types of occasions. White carnations express sympathy, while lavender represents love at first sight. Chrysanthemums, that grown in the lush mountains that surround Medellín, generally symbolize longevity, fidelity, joy and optimism. In the same way, their colors represent important meanings. The red chrysanthemum represents love and deep passion. Yellow chrysanthemums symbolize careless love or great sorrow. White chrysanthemums represent loyalty and honesty. This flower is used in arrangements to add a touch of character and beauty to all bouquets."

Hydrangeas are another type of flower that is produced in large quantities in the department of Antioquia. "The word hydrangea comes from the Greek word Hydros, which means water, because these plants require high amounts of it. It is common to give blue hydrangeas on wedding anniversaries, as they symbolize gratitude and a sincere sentiment."

"White lilies are commonly used at religious weddings. In ancient times, white lilies symbolized virginity and purity. In the same way, they are constantly illustrated in religious art as the symbol of the Virgin Mary. Lilies are frequently used at funerals, as their whiteness brings peace and serenity. Flowers resemble the cycle of life, they bloom and die, they are a symbol of life passing through. In times of mourning, it is comforting to know that beautiful lilies can speak through our sadness."

Many available in Colombia
"We are very fortunate to have so many beautiful and affordable flowers available in Colombia. A dozen roses can be sold for US$ 30 in New York, while in Colombia you can get them in a market in Bogotá for $ 10,000 pesos, (US$2.50). Colombian culture uses flowers for home decoration or workspaces, as well as gifts."

Colombian flowers in the US
When looking at the US market, Villamizar points out that the US consumers prefer light and dark pinkish red roses for Valentine ́s day. "Carnations in pastel and pink tones are in greater demand for Mother's day, especially in England. Speaking of roses, people usually prefer pastel tones, peach, lavender and a little white. For weddings in the autumn season yellow and orange tones are predominant, for Thanksgiving the predominant one is the orange tone, on St. Patrick's Day people prefer the decoration with green tones. For the dead and all saints feast there is a great demand for whites in both carnations and roses and for Christmas white, red and green usually predominate."

"All in all, the the color you give and its meaning is trivial and each country has its own traditions."

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