a national information resource for value-added agriculture
Agricultural Marketing Resource Center

Floriculture Profile

Profile updated May 2013 by Diane Huntrods, AgMRC, Iowa State University.


Floriculture includes crops such as bedding and garden plants, foliage plants, potted flowering plants, cut flowers, cut cultivated greens and floriculture materials.

The wholesale value of all floriculture crops rose slightly in 2012, reaching $4.1 billion for growers in the top 15 states of California, Florida, Hawaii, Illinois, Maryland, Michigan, New Jersey, New York, North Carolina, Ohio, Oregon, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, Texas and Washington (NASS 2013).

California continued to be the leading state, with floriculture crops valued at $985 million, down 3 percent from 2011. Florida, the next largest producer, also declined 3 percent, with the floriculture crop declining to $812 million in wholesale value. These two states accounted for 44 percent of the 15-state total value. Michigan, Texas and North Carolina rounded out the top five states in terms of the wholesale value of floriculture crops. For 2012 the top five states accounted for $2.7 billion, or 66 percent, of the 15-state total value.  (NASS 2013)

The number of floriculture producers in the top 15 states totaled 5,419 in 2012, down 6 percent from 2011. The largest group of producers reported sales of $100,000-$500,000, followed by producers with sales of $50,000-$100,000 and producers with sales over $500,000.  (NASS 2013)


The states with the most area under greenhouse cover in 2012 included California, Florida, Michigan and Washington. While glass is the traditional greenhouse cover, fiberglass and plastic film are also used as covers. In fact, greenhouses with plastic film covers accounted for 67 percent of the total production area under cover. The states with the most acres of open ground in 2012 included California, Florida, Michigan, Washington and Oregon.  (NASS 2013)


Floriculture item sales at all retail outlets was $34.3 billion in 2012, according to the Society of American Florists. Consumer trends indicate 46 percent of U.S. consumers purchase outdoor bedding and garden plants, 34 percent of consumers buy fresh flowers and 20 percent buy flowering/green houseplants.

The 2009 Census of Horticultural Specialties, a survey conducted every 10 years, indicated an increase in food crop production. According to the USDA, the sale of food crops grown under protection, including fruits and vegetables in hothouses and transplants for commercial vegetable production, increased 149 percent since the last census in 1998. Overall sales of horticultural crops increased by 10 percent between 1998 and 2009. That increase lags behind the 60 percent increase seen for all agricultural crop commodities during the same time period. A downturn in horticultural sales was documented in cut flowers, foliage plants and Christmas trees.

The Census of Horticultural Specialties breaks down where the U.S. horticultural crop is marketed. The primary outlets were retail garden centers and nurseries, 19 percent; other mass marketers, 17 percent; direct consumer sales, 16 percent; landscape contractors, 14 percent; and supermarkets, 7 percent.

Sector Profiles

Bedding and Garden Plants
The wholesale value of all bedding and garden plants, which includes herbaceous perennials as well as annual bedding and garden plants, was $1.96 billion in 2012, up 3 percent from 2011. This plant category is the largest contributor to the total value of sales and represents 49 percent of the wholesale value of all floriculture crops. California, Michigan, Texas, North Carolina and Ohio are the top five states in this category and account for 57 percent of the 15-state total bedding and garden value.  (NASS 2013)

Potted bedding and garden plants accounted for the highest wholesale sales of all bedding and garden plants in 2012, followed by sales of bedding and garden plant flats. Potted geraniums accounted for $85.96 million in sales, and potted vegetables accounted for $76.2 million. Pansy flats accounted for $67.2 millions in sales, impatiens flats accounted for $65.5 millions in sales and petunia flats accounted for $58.7 million.  (NASS 2013)

Foliage Plants
The wholesale value of foliage plant sales was $641.8 million in 2012, up 5 percent from the previous year. Florida continues to dominate this category with sales of $463.6 million, or 72 percent of the total 15-state value. (NASS 2013)

Potted Flowering Plants
The wholesale value of flowering plants in pots totaled $617.8 million in 2012, down 4 percent from 2011. California accounts for 40 percent of the 15-state value in this category followed by Florida, which accounts for 12 percent.  (NASS 2013)

Potted poinsettias accounted for $143.7 million in wholesale flowering plant sales, up from the previous year, and potted azaleas accounted for $21.2 million in sales, also an increase from 2011. The only other crop to post increased sales in this category was potted African violets, which accounted for $4.1 million in sales.  (NASS 2013)

Cut Flowers
Fresh cut flower production shows a continued shift from highly imported flowers, such as carnations and roses, to those with less competition. Based on the top 15 states, the wholesale value of domestically grown cut flowers was $342.2 million in 2012, 5 percent less than in 2011. California, the top producer of cut flowers, reported sales of $261.3 million, which accounted for 76 percent of all sales among the 15 states. Wholesalers reported sales of $64.5 million for lilies, $54.8 million for tulips and $34.3 million for daisies. (NASS 2013)


The United States is a net importer of floricultural products. In 2012 cut flower exports were valued at $25.8 million, a 22 percent decline from 2011. Canada was the main buyer of U.S. cut flowers, with purchases valued at $23.8 million, also a 22 percent decline from the previous year.  (FAS)


Cut flower imports in 2012 were valued at $615.7 million, a 30 percent drop from 2011. Colombia was the largest supplier of cut flowers, providing flowers valued at $480.1 million, a 15 percent decline from the previous year. Ecuador was another main supplier of cut flowers, followed by Mexico and Thailand.  (FAS)

Roses are the leading cut flower imported into the United States. In 2012 fresh rose imports were valued at $367.3 million. Imported fresh mums were valued at $128.9 million, and imported fresh carnations were valued at $82.5 million. In each case, Colombia was the largest supplier, and Ecuador was usually the second largest supplier.  (FAS)

Imported nursery products except for cut flowers were valued at $1.0 billion in 2012, jumping 51 percent from 2011. Canada was the largest supplier of imported nursery products, followed by the Netherlands and Colombia. All three countries experienced double digit or greater increases in the value of their U.S. sales.  (FAS)

Orchid plant imports in 2012 were valued at $65.3 million, decreasing 6 percent from 2011. Taiwan was the main supplier, followed by the Netherlands and Thailand. Flower bulbs continued to be supplied by the Netherlands. Tulip bulb imports totaled $52.0 million in 2012 and lily bulb imports totaled $29.7 million.  (FAS)


Census of Horticultural Specialties 2009, National Agricultural Statistics Service (NASS), USDA - This census, conducted every 10 years, provides the only comprehensive, detailed data on floriculture, nursery and specialty crop production in the United States.

Floriculture Crops, 2012 Summary, NASS, USDA, April 2013 - This report is based on all known growers of floriculture crops in 15 states with $10,000 or more in annual gross value sales (both retail and wholesale) of fresh cut flowers, potted flowering plants, foliage plants, annual bedding and garden plants, herbaceous perennials, cut cultivated florist greens, propagative floriculture material and/or unfinished plants.

Global Agricultural Trade System, Foreign Ag Service, USDA.

Society of American Florists

Links checked August 2014.



USDA Rural DevelopmentPartially Funded by USDA Rural Development
...and justice for all.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) prohibits discrimination in all its programs and activities on the basis of race, color, national origin, gender, religion, age, disability, political beliefs, sexual orientation, and marital or family status. (Not all prohibited bases apply to all programs.) Many materials can be made available in alternative formats for ADA clients. To file a complaint of discrimination, write USDA, Office of Civil Rights, Room 326-W, Whitten Building, 14th and Independence Avenue, SW, Washington, DC 20250-9410 or call 202-720-5964.

Iowa State University

The names, words, symbols, and graphics representing Iowa State University are trademarks and copyrights of the university, protected by trademark and copyright laws of the U.S. and other countries.