8 of the Most Expensive Flowers in the World

Harvested saffron flowers in a bunch
The saffron crocus is one of the most expensive flowers in the world because it produces a coveted spice.

Owen Franken / Getty Images 

Flowers are generally pricey, but some are more expensive than others. Your average florist-arranged dozen of roses can cost $100. A bouquet of peonies? That'll be $75. Imagine, now, buying a single flower for $5 million. It's happened before—at the 2006 Chelsea Flower Show. The Juliet rose is thought to be the most expensive rose ever sold.

The $5 million bloom is proof that people will pay a pretty penny for flowers that are in some way rare, unique, or, well, just pretty. The world's most precious florals range from $6 to six figures per stem.

Time to reassess your flower budget? Here are eight of the most expensive flowers on the planet.

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Gloriosa ($6 to $10 Per Stem)

Close-up of blooming pink Gloriosa Lily
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Also known as a flame lily, fire lily, and glory lily, the gloriosa thrives in hot conditions in tropical Africa and Asia. It's not a true lily—rather, it's a member of the autumn-crocus family—and it's certainly not priced similarly to the lilies you'll find at the grocery store.

The gloriosa lily is extremely beautiful, its long stamens surrounded by red-orange reflexed tepals, but the likely reason it's so expensive (up to $10 a stem) is because it's rare to find and difficult to harvest. It's also very poisonous, so please don't eat it.

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Arum Lily ($13 to $16 Per Stem)

Arum emerging from the ground in the spring

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Like the gloriosa, the arum lily (Arum maculatum)—which often gets confused with the calla lily (Zantedeschia aethiopica)—is not a true lily. It's related to the more leafy caladium and philodendron. They're known to be expensive because they're extraordinarily strong, impossibly tall, and produce abundant flowers. The unusual white, hood-shaped flowers are such a status symbol they were featured in Prince Edward's 1999 wedding.

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Gardenia ($20 to $60 Per Plant)

White gardenias growing in a cluster on a bush

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Rare flowers are typically the expensive ones. But the gardenia is pretty common; it's not clear whether its luxurious reputation stems (get it?) from the fact that it's become a popular wedding flower or simply because it's so darn pretty and wonderful-smelling. In fact, it serves as the inspiration for a multitude of designer fragrances. Another reason it's so pricey: You can't buy gardenias by the stem. They must be purchased by the plant, so you at least get more bang for your buck.

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Saffron Crocus ($1,200 to $1,500 Per Pound)

Close-up of fully bloomed saffron crocus covered in water drops

Chris Griffiths / Getty Images

The saffron flower (Crocus sativus) gives us saffron, widely recognized as the world’s most expensive spice by weight. So, it's no surprise that the plant responsible for it is one of the world's most expensive flowers. The vibrant purple bloom produces a deep golden-orange stamen. That's the part that's hand-picked, dried, and sold as saffron. It takes 80,000 flowers to harvest a mere 500 grams of spice.

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Rotchschild's Orchid ($5,000 Per Plant)

Close-up of striped Rotchschild's orchid blooming in a greenhouse

Dick Culbert / Wikimedia Commons / CC BY 2.0

Rotchschild's orchid (Paphiopedilum rothschildianum), commonly known as the Gold of Kinabalu orchid and known for its imposing horizontal petals, was discovered in 1987. Given the exotic look of it, the flower was promptly ravaged by orchid smugglers, which left it nearly extinct. It has since been reintroduced by cultivated seedlings, but it remains elusive—so elusive that to get your hands on a single plant can cost $5,000.

The Rotchschild's orchid lives in the wild only in Malaysia's Kinabalu National Park. It grows for many years before a single bloom appears.

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Shenzhen Nongke Orchid ($202,000 Per Plant)

Even the most dedicated orchid collector would not be able to get their hands on the coveted Shenzhen Nongke. It's that rare not necessarily because it's beautiful—although it is, with green foliage bursting around its brilliant flower. No, it's rare, and thus expensive, because it's human-made.

This orchid was developed in a lab by agricultural research corporation Shenzhen Nongke Group. It took eight years to develop, and in 2005, it was sold at auction to an anonymous bidder for an astonishing $202,000. It's believed to be the most expensive flower ever bought.

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Juliet Rose ($5 Million Per Plant)

Cluster of pink Juliet roses growing in rose bush

Geolina163 / Wikimedia Commons / CC BY-SA 4.0

OK, the rose known as Juliet can, indeed, be purchased for less than $5 million. But $5 million is how much it cost the famed rose breeder David Austin to create the apricot-hued hybrid over the course of 15 years. He debuted the flower in 2006 at the Chelsea Flower Show, where it won 25 gold metals. It's presumed to be the most expensive rose ever developed.

Today, you can purchase the bare root rose straight from David Austin's website for about $26.

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Kadupul Flower (Priceless)

Close-up of two Queen of the Night flowers blooming

Firdausiah Mamat / Getty Images

Few living things are as poetic and ephemeral as the Kadupul flower, a fleeting beauty from Sri Lanka that blooms as infrequently as once a year. And when it does bloom, it does so in the dark of night and withers away before dawn. People have probably tried to pick this coveted cactus flower to make a buck, but their efforts would have been for not: The moment the Kadupul is plucked from the earth, it withers and dies. The transient bloom is priceless.