Supermarket Flowers: From Farm to Vase

26 June 2020

Supermarkets usually place flowers right at the entrance to make an attractive burst of color and freshen up the look of the store. But flowers are not just for decoration; supermarkets sell millions of cut flowers each year. You might grab a bunch to bring home with the shopping, but have you ever wondered about the journey the flowers take on their way to you?

And that journey might be longer than you think. After the Netherlands, the biggest flower-producing industries are in Columbia, Ecuador, Kenya, Belgium, and Ethiopia. The warm temperatures and high light intensity found in the Southern Hemisphere make perfect conditions for growing the biggest and brightest blooms.

The first stage in the journey of a flower is the selection of varieties. Growers select interesting varieties that are suited to the conditions at their farm and test them in their greenhouses. Flowers are selected according to favorable criteria such as color, vase life, disease resistance, and growth. Those that do well are propagated and planted in soil.
After approximately two months of growing, the flowers are ready to be harvested. It is important to harvest the flowers at a uniform opening stage to ensure an even bouquet. Flowers are graded according to length and opening stage. At this point, those that have been damaged or infected by disease are discarded.


After being graded and bunched, the flowers are put into water and kept in cold storage. This process prevents them from blooming too soon and wilting before they reach stores. Some farms use a water treatment solution to help avoid this.

Flowers are then transported in refrigerated containers by truck or airplane, depending on their location and destination. Flowers arrive at the packaging location, ready to be put into sleeves and prepared for sale. Finally, the flowers are transported to the supermarkets, ready to be picked up by you.

GGN labelled roses

GGN labelled scabiose

Choose sustainable

Are you surprised by how many steps are needed to put beautiful flowers in your vase? Given the long journey from greenhouse to vase, it is especially important to make sure that the flowers you buy support an environmentally conscious and fair supply chain. Next time you pick up a bunch from your supermarket, consider choosing GGN certified floriculture.
The GGN label stands for certified, responsible farming and transparency. It is designed to help guide you in your day-to-day grocery shopping. Transparency is at the heart of our label – our label connects you to the roots of your food and plants.

As a mission-driven organization that is passionate about the cause of protecting people, animals, and the environment, we strive to build a more sustainable future that serves every generation on this planet.


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