2024’s Best Cities for Flower Availability

smiling woman holding flowers in a wood box standing in a greenhouse

Does your city grow the freshest blooms?

To mark Mother’s Day, Lawn Love ranked 2024’s Best Cities for Local Flowers.

We compared the 500 biggest U.S. cities based on five floral categories. We looked at access to flower shops and specialty-cut flower vendors, consumer ratings, and even the number of flower festivals, among 11 total metrics.

See which cities’ local floral scenes are fleurishing in our ranking below. To learn how we ranked the cities, see our methodology.

In this article

City rankings

See how each city fared in our ranking:

Top 5 close up

Check out the slideshow below for highlights on each of our top 5 cities.

The concrete jungle of skyscrapers and high-rises surround the Empire State Building during golden hour in New York.
No. 1: New York | Overall score: 49.73

Flower Shops per Square Mile: 1.04 | Rank: 41
Number of Plant Nurseries and Garden Shops: 153 | Rank: 2
Number of Flower Delivery Services: 150 | Rank: 1
Number of Premium Flower Growers: 2 | Rank: 20 (tie)
Average Monthly Google Searches for Local Flowers Over Past Year: 76,400 | Rank: 1

Local tips: Spot your favorite flowers in one of NYC’s many green spaces with help from the Citywide Bloom Guide. Add some charm to your day with a stroll through the NYC Flower Market, or get a beautiful bouquet of fresh or dried flowers from Stems in Brooklyn.

Impress your beloved with a weekly delivery from Molly Oliver Flowers, which offers a locally and sustainably sourced flower subscription service. 

Photo credit: Roberto Vivancos | Pexels | Pexels License
Skyscrapers stand tall in contrast against the blue sky and ocean in Miami.
No. 2: Miami | Overall score: 47.2

Flower Shops per Square Mile: 7.45 | Rank: 1
Number of Plant Nurseries and Garden Shops: 155 | Rank: 1
Number of Flower Delivery Services: 28 | Rank: 5
Average Monthly Google Searches for Local Flowers Over Past Year: 6,100 | Rank: 10
Number of Flower Festivals: 1 | Rank: 4 (tie)

Local tips: It’s easy to buy blooming flowers in Miami, which has the most flower shops per square mile. You can find an impressive bouquet at house of lilac or Midtown Garden Center

Stop and smell the flowers at the annual Tamiami International Orchid Festival.

Photo credit: Tory Brown | Pexels | Pexels License
A woman reads on a field looking over townhomes and skyscrapers in San Francisco.
No. 3: San Francisco | Overall score: 38

Flower Shops per Square Mile: 2.14 | Rank: 8
Number of Plant Nurseries and Garden Shops: 67 | Rank: 10
Number of Flower Delivery Services: 25 | Rank: 6 (tie)
Share of Highly Rated (4.5+ Stars) Flower Shops (With 10+ Reviews): 49% | Rank: 22
Number of Flower Shows: 3 | Rank: 2 (tie)

Local tips: Learn about rare and endangered flowers from across the globe at the Conservatory of Flowers. Explore the San Francisco Flower Market or check out one of the many floral oases growing in and around the city. 

Photo credit: Juan Salamanca | Pexels | Pexels License
A shot of the Seattle, Washington, skyline with a view of the iconic Space Needle framed by trees from Kerry Park in the foreground and Mount Rainier in the background
No. 4: Seattle | Overall score: 33.18

Flower Shops per Square Mile: 1.25 | Rank: 25
Number of Plant Nurseries and Garden Shops: 47 | Rank: 18 (tie)
Number of Flower Farms: 36 | Rank: 1
Share of Highly Rated (4.5+ Stars) Flower Shops (With 10+ Reviews): 37.14% | Rank: 38
Number of Flower Festivals: 1 | Rank: 4 (tie)

Local tips: Find inspiration and gardening tips at the Northwest Flower & Garden Festival, and buy fresh blooms throughout the year at Seattle Wholesale Growers Market, a sustainable and farmer-owned cooperative. 

Escape the city and head up to the Skagit Valley Tulip Festival in April.

Photo credit: Stephen Plopper | Unsplash | Unsplash License
The Griffith Observatory stands atop a hill overlooking the Los Angeles skyline.
No. 5: Los Angeles | Overall score: 31.74

Flower Shops per Square Mile: 0.66 | Rank: 92
Number of Plant Nurseries and Garden Shops: 145 | Rank: 3
Number of Flower Delivery Services: 34 | Rank: 4
Share of Highly Rated (4.5+ Stars) Flower Shops (With 10+ Reviews): 41.8% | Rank: 28
Average Monthly Google Searches for Local Flowers Over Past Year: 24,600 | Rank: 2

Local tips: LA is home to the nation’s largest wholesale flower district.

Find refuge from the hustle and bustle at the Exposition Park Rose Garden, which has been encouraging Angelenos to stop and smell the roses since 1928.

Photo credit: Roberto Nickson | Pexels | Pexels License

Key insights

Populous cities like New York (No. 1), Miami (No. 2), and San Francisco (No. 3), bloom to the top of our ranking with high access to flower shops, delivery services, and events. 

Scenic coasts and flowers go hand in hand — 33 California, 7 Florida, 6 Washington, and 5 Oregon cities sprout into the top 100. Evergreen State cities claim the best access to flower farms — Seattle (No. 4), for one, is surrounded by a whopping 36 flower farms.

Smaller cities like Asheville, North Carolina (No. 12), Bend, Oregon (No. 13), and Ann Arbor, Michigan (No. 14), stand out at the top thanks to their top-quality bouquets. Asheville also boasts annual flower festivals, such as Biltmore Blooms and the Asheville Orchid Festival.

Other small cities wilt to the end of our ranking — such as Alameda, California (No. 498), Woodbury, Minnesota (No. 499), and South Fulton, Georgia, in last place — with little access to fresh flowers. Most cities in the bottom 100 have populations below 200,000 — except for Toledo, Ohio (No. 411) and Corpus Christi, Texas (No. 415).

Find more interesting insights in the “Media resources” section below.

Peony for your thoughts: Expert take

Many consumers aren’t aware that 80% of the cut flowers purchased in the U.S. are imported from countries like the Netherlands, Colombia, Ecuador, and Kenya. Many also don’t understand the benefits of buying locally grown flowers — or at least buying flowers from local vendors.

To help educate our readers, we asked a panel of industry experts to answer the following questions:

  1. What are the top three reasons consumers should buy local flowers?
  2. How can consumers ensure they’re buying the freshest flowers from their local florist?
  3. What are some places to avoid buying flowers from and why?
  4. When online floral retailers advertise discounts on flowers, are consumers actually getting a good deal compared with buying local? Why or why not?
  5. What are three examples of local flowers that are truly associated with a city or region?

Ask The Experts

Melinda Knuth
Assistant Professor
Shital Poudyal, Ph.D.
Assistant Professor and Extension Specialist, Department of Plants, Soils & Climate
Melinda Lynch, AIFD, CFD
Floral Design Lecturer
Melinda Knuth
Assistant Professor
NC State University

What are the top three reasons consumers should buy local flowers?

1. Buying local flowers promotes and strengthens the local economy.

2. Additionally, buying local flowers allows for more specialty selection since some flowers, such as dahlias, do not transport well. They can only be found locally.

3. Lastly, it could help reduce the carbon footprint of the flowers because they do not have to travel as far.

How can consumers ensure they’re buying the freshest flowers from their local florist?

Ask the florist when the flowers came in. A well-handled flower will last the consumer 10-14 days at home.

Make sure your florist has tidy coolers, the water in the floral vase is clean, and that you know how to properly use “flower food” that comes with the flowers. This is a food solution that will help them last as long as possible.

What are some places to avoid buying flowers from and why?

I wouldn’t say that there is a place to avoid. Sometimes the freshest flowers are purchased on the side of the road (i.e., next to the field). Each type of location has advantages and disadvantages.

Care and handling of the flowers is very company-specific. The best tip I have is to make sure you’re purchasing from a location that is clean and where the staff is knowledgeable. If they don’t engage with you on how to care for your flowers, beware!

When online floral retailers advertise discounts on flowers, are consumers actually getting a good deal compared with buying local? Why or why not?

Again, this is company-specific. Usually, the deal is good. The reason for this is that the online company can source the flowers in bulk for a lower price than the local flower farmer can produce the flower.

Because their input costs are lower, they can sell their flowers for a lower price point and still be profitable. This isn’t pulling the wool over the consumer’s eyes –– this is just pure market engagement.

What are three examples of local flowers that are truly associated with a city or region?

Dahlias, zinnias, and ranunculuses are almost exclusively grown locally. They do not transport long distances (in boxes) well. Therefore, when you see them, they are probably from a location very close to you.

The easiest way to find the most local, fresh flowers is to frequent farmer’s markets. Your local farmers are there. Additionally, they will be fresh. The farmers usually cut the flowers the night before or the same day as they sell them.

Some cities, like here in Raleigh, are flower farmer-friendly. Supermarket chains will buy flowers from local farmers and sell them in the stores to consumers. Check with your local stores to see if they do the same.

Shital Poudyal, Ph.D.
Assistant Professor and Extension Specialist, Department of Plants, Soils & Climate
Utah State University

What are the top three reasons consumers should buy local flowers?

There are numerous reasons to shop locally, but below are my top three reasons:

1. Support the local economy

Around 70–80% of cut flowers sold in the U.S. are imported. Buying local flowers incentivizes local growers to invest and produce flowers locally, thus reducing the import of cut flowers. It will also boost the local economy by creating more local jobs.

2. Longer flower life and larger variations in flower types

Locally grown flowers can be immediately sold to customers and can stay fresh longer. In addition, flowers that are delicate to handle and have a short life can still be grown and sold locally; therefore, consumers can enjoy more variation in flower types if shopped locally.

3. Support sustainability — less environmental footprint

Climate change and increasing global warming are challenging issues of this century. Most of the flowers sold to the U.S. are from South America and Europe. These flowers need to be packed, stored in cool chambers, and shipped thousands of miles away.

If we buy locally, we would minimize the use of fuels and resources and thus contribute to lowering the environmental footprint of our actions.

How can consumers ensure they’re buying the freshest flowers from their local florist?

Local florists often sell their flowers in local farmer’s markets or local floral shops. Local flowers sold also tend to be seasonal.

When buying flowers, observe petals (colorful outside part of a flower) for turgidity and firmness. Avoid flowers with petals that are wilted, rustic, and have brown spots. If available, buy flowers that are just beginning to open and still in the bud phase. Those flowers tend to be fresh and last longer.

When flowers are not shipped or handled appropriately, buds will be soft. A fresh flower will have tight and firm buds that can easily be felt with a gentle touch. Inspect sepals (green part of a flower) and leaves; if the leaves are wilted, saggy, brown, or rustic, the flowers in that bunch might not be fresh.

Also, avoid stems that are slimy or swollen. After purchasing flowers, cut 1 inch of the lower part of the stem and immediately put the flower in water; alternatively, you can also cut the stem underwater. This action will remove air pockets from the stems and facilitate water and sugar uptake, making flowers last longer.

What are some places to avoid buying flowers from and why?

There aren’t any specified places to avoid buying flowers. However, flowers sold in big chain stores generally are not handled as needed.

These big stores usually sell thousands of goods, and flowers are just another commodity. Hence, they do not have appropriate flower storage temperatures, employees might neglect watering, and flowers may be stored in higher temperatures and sometimes under direct heat or sunlight.

Additionally, most of the flowers sold by these big bulk stores are of lower quality and are usually imported from very long distances. However, these issues are location-specific; therefore, do your research before buying flowers from these stores.

When online floral retailers advertise discounts on flowers, are consumers actually getting a good deal compared with buying local? Why or why not?

In my opinion, buying local is always a great deal. Let me explain why:

When you buy flowers online, there are two primary ways to deliver your purchase. The first and standard process is where the online sales agent, who generally does not have any flower experience, takes your order. The agent then contacts your local flower growers and arranges flower delivery between you and your local grower, for which they charge a hefty commission.

Because the grower has to pay the online agent (middleman) a share of their profit, the price of flowers on an online store is usually higher, even with discounts. However, online stores sometimes have lower prices, and that is usually when local growers are selling unsold inventory, which is about to go bad, for a lower price. Therefore, buying local will, in most cases, save you money. In addition, you get to see and feel fresh flowers before you buy.

The second way to deliver your purchase is by online store themselves. Online stores sometimes buy a huge inventory of flowers and do the shipping, handling, and delivery. In this case, although the price of the flower may be lower, they charge additional fees for shipping, handling, and accessories, spiking final costs at the end.

In addition, you do not know if the flower will be on time and what the flower’s condition will be. Therefore, you might get a good deal on flowers but get a flower that will only stay fresh for the next two days. Also, think about the hidden cost of online delivery, such as packaging and carbon emissions. Buying locally is more climate-friendly.

What are examples of local flowers that are truly associated with a city or region?

Growers always aim toward growing flowers that are high in demand, and Utah growers are no different. Local growers in Utah commonly grow peonies, snapdragons, dahlias, zinnias, sage, yarrow, cosmos, tulips, daffodils, lilies, and many more. These flowers are either grown in high tunnels or on the field.

Melinda Lynch, AIFD, CFD
Floral Design Lecturer
Cal Poly, San Luis Obispo, College of Agriculture, Food & Environmental Sciences Horticulture & Crop Science Department

What are the top three reasons consumers should buy local flowers?

  1. For personal enjoyment
  2. For a gift
  3. For an event or celebration

How can consumers ensure they’re buying the freshest flowers from their local florist?

They need to beware of what fresh flowers look like vs. older ones. Make sure they get a photo of the arrangement that was sent.

What are some places to avoid buying flowers from and why?

Grocery stores, because they don’t always have a good turnover rate, and the flowers will sit there until they are not fresh.

When online floral retailers advertise discounts on flowers, are consumers getting a good deal compared with buying local? Why or why not?

Great question, I would have to say there is probably some sort of fee from the online vendor they are paying, and that extra fee usually will need to be paid out of somewhere. It’s hard to find out because you must trust that they are doing what they said they would do. Local is always the best way to go.

What are three examples of local flowers that are truly associated with a city or region?

In San Luis Obispo County:

  1. Farmers markets: they must be locally grown by the vendors in the area. (examples: sweet peas, ranunculus, roses, sunflowers, Iris, and foxglove, just to name a few)
  2. Flower growers who don’t go to farmers markets but sell to the local florists. (roses and dahlias)
  3. At Cal Poly, we grow gerbera daisies, hydrangeas, orchids, alstroemeria, roses, statice, and strawflowers, just to name a few.

Behind the ranking

First, we determined the factors (metrics) that are most relevant to rank the Best Cities for Local Flowers. We then assigned a weight to each factor based on its importance and grouped those factors into 5 categories: Flower Access, Delivery Access, Vendor Quality, Local Demand, and Events. The categories, factors, and their weights are listed in the table below.

For each of the 500 biggest U.S. cities, we then gathered data on each factor from the sources listed below the table. 

Finally, we calculated scores (out of 100 points) for each city to determine its rank in each factor, each category, and overall. A city’s Overall Score is the average of its scores across all factors and categories. The highest Overall Score ranked “Best” (No. 1) and the lowest “Worst” (No. 500).

Notes:

Sources

Association of Specialty Cut Flower Growers, EventsInAmerica.com, Festivalnet, Find A Florist, Garden Club of Virginia, Google Ads, International Flower Fairs, Local Flowers, Slow Flowers, Town & Tourist, and Yelp

Make your yard bloom

Shop local this year and surprise your mama with a bouquet of fresh flowers. Or, grow your own blooms and gift your mother figure a homemade (and homegrown) bouquet with some help from our tips below.

Need a hand keeping all your outdoor plants and flowers happy? Hire a local Lawn Love crew to keep your landscape looking bright and colorful. 

Media resources

Quotes from Lawn Love Editor-in-Chief Jeff Herman:

Main photo credit: dusanpetkovic1 / Adobe Stock / License

Sav Maive

Sav Maive is a writer and director based in San Antonio. Sav is a graduate from the University of Virginia and is a loving cat and plant mom.