Warmer winter makes Sant Jordi roses smaller

Last producer in Catalonia expects to sell only 50,000 roses, as most come from Colombia and Ecuador

Some pink roses in a Maresme county greenhouse
Some pink roses in a Maresme county greenhouse / Jordi Pujolar

Ona Van Dyck Colomer | Barcelona

April 13, 2024 01:57 PM

April 16, 2024 10:46 AM

Sant Jordi day is famous for turning Catalan streets red with millions of roses sold by florists, this year only a small percentage of them are grown in Catalonia. 

The majority of roses come from Colombia and Ecuador, and only 50,000 of them are grown in Catalan soil, a decrease of 15% compared to 2023. 

The Florists' Guild predicts that seven million roses will be sold on Sant Jordi's day, a figure that has not been reached since the pandemic. 

Hot winter temperatures 

Native Catalan roses will also be smaller than usual this year. 

"The hot winter makes the rose grow faster and the stem is shorter than usual," flower grower Joan Pons told the Catalan News Agency (ACN). 

He also explained that the high temperatures and sunlight cause the plant to open its bud earlier and stop the growth of the stem. This makes the roses less "slender" than when they are grown in perfect conditions. 

Usually roses have a stem up to 80cm, this year only a few will reach 70cm, but most of them will be between 40-50cm. Part of the grown roses will not be able to be sold as their stems barely reach 20cm. 


Two decades ago, there were "about 20 frosts" in January and February, which was good for the development of the roses, they "exploded" in spring, but "this year there was one frost, only a short one, it's not enough," Pons explained. 

This means a large amount will be imported. Pons explained it is "difficult" for consumers to appreciate the difference between the native Catalan roses and imported roses, which come in more standardized forms. 

"The one we have here has the best petals, but when you look at the bud, you can't tell the difference," the flower farmer explains.