The roots of Colombia’s booming flower and orchid industry

With the holiday season in full bloom, a floral piece may be donning a nearby mantle or dinner table. Odds are that those seasonal pops of color stem from Colombia. The South American nation is the second-highest exporter of flowers in the world – the Netherlands being number one.

According to the country's Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development, Colombia exported $1.4 billion in fresh cut flowers globally with approximately 80% of them going to the United States in 2020. The five most popular flowers for export are roses, carnations, chrysanthemums, hydrangeas and alstroemerias.

Within Colombia, 66% of export-quality flowers are grown in the department of Cundinamarca, where the capital of Bogotá is situated. Thirty-three percent are grown in the northwestern state of Antioquia, home to the country's second-largest city, Medellín.

Dubbed the "City of the Eternal Spring" – with high temperatures continuously hovering around 80 degrees – Medellín exudes a year-round visible love for flowers that attracts tourists near and far.


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