How flowers end up at your florist? Part 2

In the previous blog, I discussed how a florist gets flowers to their place of business.

However there are still some unanswered questions…

  • Where do the markets get their flowers from?
  • How do markets consistently ensure they have produce all year round?
  • Where are all of these flowers grown?


It’s all well and good having to get your flowers early in the morning from your supplier but surely someone has to working even earlier to get those flowers to them first, right?


Where do markets get their flowers from?

Flower markets will often get their flowers direct from the growers. These maybe local growers in the same country. For example, I live in England where the growers are on the rise from the imported flowers of Holland among others. Holland, however, is the largest player in the game with around 90% of flowers coming from or at least being sold through Holland.

In Holland, more specifically in Aalsmeer, their is the largest flower auction in the world. The Aalsmeer Flower Auction building is the largest building by footprint in the world covering 518,000 m². That’s almost 5x the floor area of the O2 Arena in  London.


The red box is the Auction House where all of the flowers are held and the auctions actually take place. The place is so large because it simply contains that so many buckets of flowers. The building has incredibly efficient systems to move the flowers from one side to the other very quickly.

The yellow box represents some of the suppliers based next door. Take note of that ‘little’ bridge between the two as I will discuss later.

How the Dutch auction works.

Aalsmeer has rooms of people gathered with a computer and several large screens. The buyer bids for their flowers using the typical Dutch Auction technique.

This is a type of auction in which the auctioneer starts with a high asking price which is lowered until one participant is willing to accept the price. This is otherwise known as a descending auction or clock auction.

The Dutch auction guarantees that the best price is obtained in contrast to a traditional auction where the winning bidder may have been prepared to bid considerably more.

As you can see in the images, the clock counts down from 100 and so does the price of the flower. The first person to bid, gets that flower at that price. If you wait too long in the hope of a lower price, you may lose out completely.


After the bidding process, the computer system begins to sort out each buyers flowers for you. Individual buyers can watch the carts, consistent of up to 18 buckets each, get towed by a person or even autonomously to their destination. There, the buyer can collect the flowers and take them home. However, for the larger suppliers that purchase a lot more flowers on a more regular basis. These suppliers have a premises next door to the auction house (in the yellow box indicated). After purchase, the flower carts will be sent autonomously across the bridge and directly into their warehouse. From there, they go into trucks to go across the continent, or into planes to go further distances such as the U.S.



Please wait for my next blogs for the answers to the following questions:

  • How do markets consistently ensure they have produce all year round?
  • Where are all of these flowers grown?

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