Getting started in cut flower production
There is a huge farmer’s market in my area and I’m seeing more and more fresh cut flowers available from local producers.
David Trinklein is the state floriculture specialist at the University of Missouri. He says cut flower production is a lucrative business, often bringing income of $25,000 per acre. Now before you go buy up all the flower seeds you can find, the first thing to do is determine who is in the market for flowers.
"If you go to a florist and ask, what do you have a tough time finding during the summer, especially from wholesale distributors? Locally-grown things are usually things that don’t ship well. Sunflowers typically are very, very easy to sell, as are zinnias," says Trinklein. "And I think many, many florists are just very anxious to obtain them."
Trinklein advises starting out with easy-to-grow annuals. The area should have full sun, protected from heavy wind, and have well-drained soil that’s rich in organic matter. He also recommends planting in raised beds or berms.
A flower will sell only if it has aesthetic value. If you don’t get a lot of rain, you’ll need a drip or trickle irrigation system to help keep the plants vibrant.
As your business expands, Trinklein says a good investment would be a high tunnel or heated greenhouse.
"We probably want to start a lot of the plants as plugs or seedlings inside before the soil has warmed enough to plant a seed in the ground outside," he says. "It simply will shorten time from dropping the seed to cutting a flower by a week or ten-days."
Learn more about cut flower production and marketing
Check out the Association of Specialty Cut Flower Growers
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