The work of a cut flower grower can vary according to the type of plants they are growing, how they are grown and harvested, and the way they are growing them. 

 Types of crops include:

• Annual flower crops (e.g. carnations, sunflowers, poppies, stock, statice)

• Bulbs (e.g. tulips, daffodils, gladioli, iris)  - can sell both the bulbs and the flowers

• Woody perennial plants (e.g. roses, proteas, heathers)

• Tropical or greenhouse plants (e.g. orchids, gingers, heliconias)

Ways of Growing Cut Flowers include:

  • Row crops in open paddocks
  • Greenhouse Crops
  • Hydroponic Crops
  • In garden settings. Gardens created with beds of cut flower producing plants may have a dual purpose (e.g. a large rose garden may attract visitors who pay to enter the garden, buy food at a café, and the flowers may then be harvested and sold as cut flowers through a flower market).
Some rural producers may grow cut flowers along with other things as a cash crop. A market gardener, for instance, who is primarily growing vegetables, may have a hedge of proteas or banksias around their property acting as a windbreak, but also providing a flower crop that can be sold for additional income.

What They Do

The work can be varied according to what is grown, how it is grown and how it is harvested and marketed.
Growing annual flowers or bulbs in open paddocks can be relatively low tech. Routine tasks may include cultivating paddocks, planting, weeding, watering, spraying pests, harvesting flowers, lifting and dividing bulbs, post-harvest handling (e.g. packing, applying chemicals to lengthen the flowers lifespan), and shipping.

Flowers grown in a greenhouse or in hydroponics can be a relatively high-tech operation, requiring a high level of scientific knowledge and hands on technical skills. Some flower farms use very sophisticated equipment to control light, temperature and humidity conditions in order to manipulate flowering times. Both potted and in ground plants can be  grown this way to produce flowers all year round, or at times of the year when they are not normally available.  People who work on these more sophisticated farms will still need to get their hands “dirty” at times - but with a high level of automation, they may sometimes feel that their job is more akin to a factory manager than a farmer.

People who work with perennial flowers grown as row crops, hedges or in garden beds, will have a different daily routine to those growing annuals. For instance, a big part of rose growing is pruning - something which may be done rarely if at all with some annual flowers. It can take one to several years to establish a planting of woody perennials, before you begin harvesting, but once producing, you do not need to replant every year.
Cut flowers are always in demand, especially if you can produce something that transports well, has a good shelf life, and is different to what is widely available to florists at the moment. Flowers can command the best price when demand is high and supply is low. Demand for flowers exists all year round, for weddings, funerals and other occasions - but an extra demand occurs at certain times (e.g. St Valentine’s day).

In many places around the world, certain flowers are seasonal; many cut flower growers have built a successful business based upon providing flowers outside of the normal season. Other growers have achieved success by finding and introducing a type of flower that is not readily available in a market. 

Some flowers are always in high demand and low supply. Everyone tends to love orchids, roses and lavender, for instance, so these are always highly salable - but the farmer does need to be careful to not oversupply the market
What is Needed?
A cut flower grower needs all of the skills and knowledge that any general horticulturist has - but also an ability to grow a healthy, unblemished flower that is durable after harvest. They need to know how to harvest it correctly and how to package and treat the harvested product.
Some growers will sell their produce direct at the farm gate and to retailers (perhaps through a wholesale market stall, or off a truck), while others may sell through an agent.
A more sophisticated greenhouse or hydroponic flower farm will normally be a much greater initial investment, but can be highly productive in the produce it yields per acre per year.  The cut flower farmer here needs to be a very good business manager and employ highly skilled technical staff, if the farm is to return an appropriate profit for the investment made.



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