flower farming

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I was researching flower farming and planing on starting one within the next year and was wondering if any one knew of some of the more popular flowers that were profitable for zone 7 or any names of the shrubs that were used for fillers I live in northern Ca. about 2200' and have been haveing a hard time finding any thing that is for the right zone water and sun\shade are not a problem I have water rights all summer (free irrigation) and about 5-6 acres that we were going to be avalible.

-- Elizabeth (ecampbell@directcon.net), April 27, 2002


Any help from your County Extension Agent Elizabeth? Ours has pamphlets on flowers for our zone. Also Sunsets Western Garden Book has flower zones and what does well in your zone. Also the major flower growers here in the valley have flower shows and tours of the fields through the spring and summer, I wonder if that is the case where you are? If so, your Extension Service will know when these are. I hope this helps give you some ideas. I would call some of the Garden Clubs there too. We have a Sat. morning garden show on the radio here, if you do too, call them. You will get some responses I would think. Sounds like a challenging and fun project. Good luck, LQ

-- Little Quacker (carouselxing@juno.com), April 27, 2002.

Anything that is "big and fluffy". You are lucky to be in area you can grow dahlias. Buy a bunch wholesale and they will increase with each passing year. Start now to plant many varities of peony. Also from seed: delphinium, large zinnias, foxglove, veronicas. Ask your local florists if there is anything they would want you to grow for them. Any place for waterlilies? They have become a popular wedding favorite floating in bowls of water with goldfish ($50.00 a bowl complete). Good luck.

-- diane greene (greenwitch@catskillnativenursery.com), April 27, 2002.

Seems to me that your market will dictate at lot of what you will grow. So, I would get the market research done first and then look at what might seem feasible. Also, most likely some of the higher profit plants will need to be grown in a greenhouse, or so it seems.

-- BC (desertdweller44@yahoo.com), April 27, 2002.

You might be interested in the book The Flower Farmer by Lynn Byczynski. Good luck!

-- Bren (wayoutfarm@skybest.com), April 27, 2002.

I've ordered a hundred daylily plants to start my flower business. Definitely start with something that will multiply on it's own!

-- Shannon at Grateful Acres Animal Sanctuary (gratacres@aol.com), April 27, 2002.

Butterfly bushes (buddleia) and perenial phlox are great cut flowers. Also, oriental lilies.

-- vicki in NW OH (thga76@aol.com), April 27, 2002.

I agree, The Flower Farmer is a great idea book. Shannon - why daylilies? The flowers last literally one day. Are you selling the acutal plant? People (including florists) want long lasting bouquets. For a pick-your-own or wholesale operation the longer the blooms lasts the better. Peonies can go for $2-$3 a stem. Vase size sunflowers $1.00 ea. - just to give you an idea of pricing. I worked on a flower farm off a busy road on Long Island in the late 80's. Three acres of mixed flowers usually brought in about $500-$1000 per summer weekend. This did not include their wholesale florist trade ( also they grew a lot of lavender for the craft market). You need the traffic, but most people spent about $25 per visit. Don't forget dried flowers and gourds for the fall to extend the season.

-- diane (greenwitch@catskillnativenursery.com), April 27, 2002.

diane, a bouquet of daylilies can last a very long time. Each stem has multiple buds so even though a blossom will last only one day, there is usually another one to take its place the next day. I love them in a cut flower arrangement.

I would think gladiolas would be another one that would be nice, as well as various daisies etc.

-- diane (gardiacaprines@yahoo.com), April 27, 2002.

Before you start taking peoples advice on what to grow research what's hot in your local market. There are a lot of varieties that seem to always do well such as Zinnias or statice but before commiting to anything research, research, research. Don't always believe that this or that sells for 2.00-3.00 a stem. It might in a particular market, But in yours you may only get .40-.50 a stem. After finding out what will grow for you and what the demand is in your area start lining up clients for your product. You may have great stuff but you've got to be able to move it. Nobody is going to beat a path to your door, you have to really hussel. Do this before the seed order goes out. We've been growing flowers for five years now and every year is a new adventure. It's also an incredible amount of work. There's no easy money in this line so be prepared. For information I recommend the Association Of Specialty Cut Flower Growers (ASCFG). They can be reached at www.ascfg.org , membership is a good idea, the resources are excellent. Growing is easy, marketing is work, Good Luck.

-- JJ Grandits (JJGBDF@aol.com), April 27, 2002.

Right, daylilies have multiple buds that will bloom. Also, I guess I'm figuring on selling them as garden plants, rather than cut flowers. A local woman sold perrenials via the "dig what you want" method, and she had a HUGE business. That's what I'm aiming for...not selling cut flowers to florists. We have (unfortunately? fortunately?) lots of traffic on our road, so I figure people will see the flowers in the garden, and stop to buy some for their own garden.

-- Shannon at Grateful Acres Animal Sanctuary (gratacres@aol.com), April 28, 2002.

You are right to check what grows best in your area. Check about growing lillies. Most come from Smith River, CA in the north on the coast. Also roses come from Medford, OR; also in the north.

-- Hank (hsnrs@att.net), April 29, 2002.

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