Massive flower bouquets called ramos buchónes — some of them costing hundreds of dollars — are sparking a viral trend before Valentine's Day and finding an audience in the Twin Cities among social media-savvy florists and their Latino clientele.
These aren't your typical bouquets; the elaborate arrangements start at about 50 flowers, usually roses, and can go up to as many as 100. Most florists in Minnesota don't make them.
But they're all over social media, where some #ramobuchon videos on TikTok have more than 30 million views.
"It's not a necessity, but it's a luxury," said Brittany Vega of Designs By B, who makes and sells the elaborate bouquets out of her Bloomington home. "It's not every day that a girl gets a big 'ramo.' "
Vega, 21, who calls her flower business a side gig between working full-time and going to school, said she's been getting two to five Valentine's Day orders daily in recent weeks. It's her first year selling the arrangements.
According to one Mexican newspaper, a ramo (Spanish for "bouquet") buchón is ostentatious in its decoration and size. Not only are there a lot of roses, but florists like Vega wrap them in carefully folded Korean paper and may add LED lights, glitter, pins, chocolates, ribbons and stuffed animals. Some even include money in the form of folded bills.
Vega isn't the only florist driving the ramo buchón trend in the Twin Cities. Joselyn Chacon, owner of Siempre Con Amor in Brooklyn Park, was in the middle of a gap year in college when she started selling flower arrangements to a majority Hispanic clientele.
"We really consider flowers, and especially roses, a love language," Chacon said. "Giving someone flowers is really a sign that you appreciate them and that you love them."
Chacon has since moved to New York to finish college but still makes occasional trips back home to Minnesota to fill orders for her customers. She's scheduled a weeklong break to be in town for Valentine's Day and fill her orders.
According to Chacon, the Ecuadorian rose is the main flower used to create a ramo buchón because it's bigger and sturdier than most other possible flowers.
Prices for bouquets start at around $50 but can go up to more than $400, depending on the number of flowers and customization required. A single bouquet can take a florist from one to three hours to create.
The bouquets consist of tightly arranged roses with most of the leaves cut off. They're meant to be displayed as a bouquet rather than in a vase, according to Vega, who said she's still waiting to receive one herself. The bouquets are typically used as a grand romantic gesture, but they are also given to friends and family.
"Nothing big, but I want one," Vega said. "I mean, I'm making them for other people and I see how nice it looks. I want one."
Vega said Valentine's Day is always a popular day for flowers, but Mother's Day was equally busy for her last year because she had to plan out two days of orders. Latin American countries don't always celebrate the holiday on the same day as the United States.
Chacon said many of her customers send her photos of bouquets they've seen on social media for inspiration. She said she's always willing to accommodate their wants and needs, but because the bouquets can get expensive, she also offers budget-friendly options. Such options may limit customizing, but at the same time they allow Chacon to express herself creatively — which may sometimes lead to the creation of a favorite bouquet for the florist.
Chacon features different types of flowers in what she calls her "freestyle" bouquets. She also works with colors not commonly used, like orange.
"They were very aesthetically pleasing to me, so they're my favorite ones to make," Chacon said. "I put a lot of work into it."
Both florists are nearing the end of their Valentine's Day preorder period but say they have extra flowers available for last-minute orders.
"Anything you have in mind, we'll work together with you to make it happen," Chacon said. "Everything we do is with love."
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This story comes to you from Sahan Journal, a nonprofit newsroom dedicated to covering Minnesota's immigrants and communities of color. Sign up for a free newsletter to receive Sahan's stories in your inbox.