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That's because any buying decision by the United States' largest retailer can single-handedly change the flow of roses on two continents. Valentine's Day falls on a Wednesday, a boon for Colombian growers, as they believe Americans are more likely to splurge on midweek sales and still count on extra purchases on the weekend before and after.

Andres Osorio, managing director of Bogota-based Avianca Cargo, said he expects business to be up 7 percent from 2017, and the airline he works for added new warehouse space in Miami to make room for 12 daily flower flights.

Many are pulled into warehouses by horses, chilled to sleep in refrigeration rooms, and then packed with other flowers onto planes - 1.1 million at a time - to be sold in the United States. The American flower industry has seen its production of roses drop roughly 95 percent, falling from 545 million to less than 30 million.

It's peak season for a massive Colombian industry that shipped more than 4 billion flowers to the United States last year - or about a dozen for every U. It's just the kind of decline that President Donald Trump has railed against.

Flowers going to Canada are boxed in blue cardboard.

White cardboard for the flowers going to Japan, and green-and-yellow cardboard containers for the flowers going to Russia.

MADRID, Colombia - The majority of roses Americans give one another on Valentine's Day, roughly 200 million in all, grow here, the savanna outside Bogota, summoned from the soil by 12 hours of natural sunlight, the 8,400-foot altitude and an abundance of cheap labor. effort to disrupt cocaine trafficking, the expansion of free-trade agreements - and the relentless demand by American consumers for cheap roses.

Thousands of acres of white-tarped greenhouses, some the size of several football fields, are crammed with seven-foot stems topped with rich red crowns. The transformation demonstrates the barreling, often brutal, efficiency of globalization: In 27 years, market forces and decisions made in Washington have reshaped the rose business on two continents.

He said growers would sometimes use garden weeds to fill out bouquets. In 1986, there were 228 domestic growers producing just one type of rose - the hybrid tea rose - for mass consumption. Eufloria Flowers, a sixth-generation family rose farm in California, for the first time stopped producing extra roses for Valentine's Day in 2017.

And many inspectors remember seeing cocaine stuffed into boxes of roses. government and industry officials say the 1991 law helped grow legitimate Colombian businesses, particularly flower farms, by connecting them with the global economy. Company officials decided they couldn't compete with imports, and they now focus instead on growing flowers for weddings and events.

Trump, who recently took action against foreign sellers of solar panels and washing machines, is now considering tariffs on steel and aluminum as well as a withdrawal from the North American Free Trade Agreement, changes that would reach deep into the American economy.

He has promised an unapologetic "America First" agenda that some U. flower growers hope could bring them back into the Valentine's Day rush.

He made the decision several years ago to diversify the client base beyond just the United States and to target buyers in Japan and elsewhere, where profit margins are higher, but Valentine's Day is still his peak.


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