Thursday, January 17, 2008

Orchids - America's Most Popular Flowering Plant? At Least We Think So

Every morning I have the privilege of entering a large greenhouse filled with one of the world's most amazing plants - orchids! Just being around these plants makes me feel good. I can't help but smile when I admire there elegance and beauty. My name is Delia Villegas and I am the "orchid picker" or the person that hand selects orchid plants and flowers for a large orchid mail order company. The plants I select are sent all over the country to celebrate birthdays, anniversaries and other special events. One day when I was selecting orchid plants, I wondered, what is America's most popular flowering plant? I thought, it has to be the orchid! I set out to do some research to find out what is America's most popular flowering plant.

First of all, I must confess that I am a biased. More than any other plant, I love orchid plants and as I learn more about them, my attraction becomes even stronger. There is always something new to be learned about orchids. For example, did you know that orchids existed when dinosaurs roamed the earth? This discovery was made when a prehistoric bee was found in amber and when analyzed they found orchid seeds on the bee. Pretty cool, huh? Ok, back to my story - What is America's most popular flowering plant?

The top three potted flowering plants in terms of sales in the US are Poinsettias, Orchids and Chrysanthemums. California accounts for 25 percent of the category's total value. Poinsettia value, which adds $242 million to this category, is down 2
percent from 2004. The value of Potted Orchids is $144 million, up 11 percent from the previous year. Florist Chrysanthemum value is up 1 percent, to $68.9 million.

In an article in FloraCulture International titled "The world’s fascination with potted orchids" the author writes, "The United States Department of Agriculture reports that 15.6 million pots of orchids valued at $121 million were sold in
2003, up 18% in units from 2002. By value, California potted orchid growers sold 40%, Florida growers sold 33% and Hawaii growers sold 14%. Orchids have become the second most popular flowering plant (after the poinsettia (Euphorbia pulcherrima) sold in the United States. In other words, sales of potted orchids around the world are booming."

In terms of sales, the potted Poinsettia is the most popular flowering plant with almost double the sales of potted orchids. There, I said it! But, the Poinsettias 2005 sales are down 2% from 2004 sales yet the wholesale value of potted orchids grew by 5 percent and the number of pots sold increased by 14 percent to 17.2 million pots. If sales continue at the same rate, orchids will exceed the value of poinsettias by 2020 to become the most valued flowering plant - that's only 12 years from now! Hey, maybe if we declare orchids the official plant for Mother's Day we'll be there sooner.

Delia Villegas
OrchidGram! Newsletter Contributing Writer & Orchid Lover

The top three potted flowering plants in the US are poinsettias, orchids and chrysanthemums.

poinsettia U.S. Total: $242,305,000
orchid U.S. Total: $143,968,000
crysanthenum U.S. Total: $68,944,000


With the poinsettia being the most popular. I'll discuss the attributes of each plant and then you decide which you consider most popular.

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