Roses Are Red, Love Is True. Here’s Why This Bouquet Costs $72.

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Roses Are Red, Love Is True. Here’s Why This Bouquet Costs $72.

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By Stefanos Chen and Adrienne Grunwald

April 15, 2024, 3:00 a.m. ET

To gather every last stem and ribbon, Mr. Patrikis is on the phone constantly, negotiating with 15 distributors to get the best deals.

“If you don’t know how to buy from the wholesalers, the wholesalers are going to buy you,” he said.

Depending on a stem’s length, the size of the bloom and the nation of origin, a dozen roses in New York City can cost a customer from $10 from a street vendor to more than $120 from a high-end florist. Mr. Patrikis prefers the Explorer variety of red roses, which he said tend to have larger blooms and stay fresh longer than some other varieties.

Sales in the flower industry, where same-day, local deliveries are common, shot up early during the pandemic. So did the price of doing business, with rising fuel costs, a flower shortage and supply chain problems.

The elevated prices put pressure on longtime florists like Mr. Patrikis, whose shop was one of five on his block around 2010. Ditmars Flower Shop is now the last one left.

“We were never busier in our lifetime,” Mr. Patrikis, 37, said about reopening in time for Mother’s Day in 2020 after the earliest closures in the pandemic. “We didn’t sleep for a week.”

Americans spent nearly $73 billion on flowers, seed and potted plants last year, up 48 percent from 2019 after adjusting for inflation, according to the U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis.

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