World’s Tallest Roses

Fsb_cover Here’s something that surprised me about the cut flower industry:  there is no obvious, high-end, luxury flower for flower buyers to crave. 

I mean, you’ll find beautiful, fresh, seasonal, interesting, unusual flowers here and there, but there’s no Dom Perignon of flowers.  No Rolls Royce.  No one flower that everyone can point to and say, "Yes, that is the ultimate flower.  When you really want to make an impression, that’s what you go for."  For the average person, the closest they can get would be to order "long-stemmed red roses."  But is that really a very big deal?  You can get long-stemmed red roses at the grocery store.

And I think this is an important point. There are people out there (like me) who may not be wealthy, but who like their little indulgences.  I’ll happily spend eight bucks on a chocolate bar, or thirty bucks on a little bottle of truffle oil.  I love that stuff.

And then there are people who just really need to make a big impression.  They don’t want a $29.99 bouquet, and they’d probably think you were wasting their time if you tried to sell them one.  They want to spend a couple hundred bucks for a major "wow" factor.

So a couple months ago, Organic Bouquet’s Gerald Prolman told me that he was going to start selling six-foot-long Ecuadorian roses.  They’re grown at Nevado Ecuador, a farm I visited when I was doing research for the book, and environmentally certified through the VeriFlora program, and they are extraordinary.  I’ve seen them in person:  once I carried a single stem around in San Francisco (an experience I describe in Flower Confidential) and I literally stopped traffic.

How do they grow flowers this tall?  Luck.  Location.  Nevado just noticed that a few of their varieties grew on unusually long stems, so they decided to see how far they could push it.  The farm’s right on the equator, at a high altitude, creating the perfect conditions for jumbo roses.  They can use shade cloths to control the light and keep the flowers from blooming too soon, and they even use little mesh caps (called condones in Spanish) to keep the buds closed while the stems get longer.

I wrote a story about these new roses, and it landed on the cover of the December issue of Fortune Small Business magazine.  To find out more about the roses, check out Organic Bouquet’s site.  And now:  what do you think?  Is it foolish to pay twenty bucks a stem for roses, or is it, in fact, the supreme declaration of love? 

8 thoughts on “World’s Tallest Roses”

  1. The problem with a 6 foot rose is that it’s 4 feet of thorns. That’s not very pretty to me unless you’ve got something to hide it behind, which defeats the purpose. I’m all for drama but all I think is “ouch” when I look at that picture! Of course, that’s the main reason I don’t have roses in my garden anymore, except for the neglected climber way back in the corner. Too much thorny limb, not enough foliage or bloom.

  2. gotta say I agree with Heather. Four feet or thorns? For crying out loud.
    Wasn’t the orchid the one and only supreme flower for years? Like in the 50’s? So many things have become so accesible.
    I think the trend is toward the arrangement of the flower….not the flower itself. I would be flattered if someone sent me one of those dramatic arrangements of 300 tulips swirled in a groovy vase. I would be mighty chagrined to get those 6 foot roses. What the hell?
    Just so ya know, I would also like a bottle of truffle oil and sure as hell hope you will share that $8 chocolate bar.

  3. I hate to sound like a spoilsport but jeez, I really hate seeing money wasted and flaunted to impress. Overpriced champagne and cars? Hate ’em. A bunch of roses for $200? I’d hate it, too. I’d say spend it on something that’s worth that much, or just show me you care without using your American Express card, even if – especially if – it takes a little more imagination.

  4. Robert says:
    Finally something for that four foot glass “vase” sitting in our kitchen just doing nothing but gathering dust…now if Michael would just buy some for me ! I think it would look great! And we can “afford it”…and yes it is all about marketing and $ whether we all agree or not.

  5. It’s not my cup of tea, but I think there is definitely a place for it. Lots of people want to buy something unusual… something that you’re not going to find in every other store. And what conversation pieces these would make!
    I wonder if really tall girls will receive them more than most…? 🙂

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