Cut Flower Niches

I recently had the pleasure of joining the Association of Specialty Cut Flower Growers board of directors for its annual meeting in Oberlin, Ohio. We had a great lunch in a private room at a really hip Asian fusion restaurant and were serenaded by an Opera-singing student waitress, who was performing in Candide. Beyond the great food, fellowship and atmosphere, the best part was going around the table and hearing the regional directors present news updates about their markets.

Many of the cut flowers are grown outdoors seasonally and in greenhouses and hoop houses during the winter months. Although last spring and summer were too wet in some regions, many of the growers had great years in 2009 and their entrepreneurial spirits are alive and well. Here are local opportunities that seem to be the most promising:

Community Supported Agriculture (CSA)

More metropolitan areas are supporting local farmers through CSA’s. In exchange for a share or a subscription, consumers in urban and suburban areas receive a bounty of fresh produce every month. Now, many are adding beautiful seasonal bouquets or buckets of fresh cut flowers to arrange on their own. What a wonderful idea! Many fruit and vegetable growers are finding they have common ground with specialty cut flower growers in organic and sustainable production methods, too. Regional agricultural conferences are bringing them together to create more opportunities for small farms. “People are dissatisfied with corporate America,” one grower said. “As consumers, what answer do we have? Our dollar. Buy local.”

Farmers Markets

Farmers Markets are quickly overtaking retail florists as the mainstay outlet for specialty cut flower growers. They are cropping up in new destination shopping centers, as well as older, more authentic urban neighborhoods. One of the main concerns is authenticity–aligning with markets made up of legitimate growers instead of resellers. Also, are the markets driven by developers or the community? “Pike’s Market in Seattle has no farmer cred now, it’s just for tourists,” one grower said. “Newer markets are starting and people don’t know what they’re doing.”

Big On Bridal

Many of the growers are selling directly to brides. Some are even creating a fun activity for the bridal party, serving brunch while giving the bridesmaids tips on making their own bouquets. For many, it’s as simple as providing buckets of flowers. Sometimes a bride will show up and say, “I’m getting married this afternoon. I need flowers.” This is especially true for destination weddings in more touristy locations on the coasts. Eco-conscious bridal also is a big trend. Growers are getting involved in regional bridal industries, exhibiting at shows and getting listed in green bridal guides. More florists are offering brides a local source, too.
For all of these specialty cut flower growers, the association founded by Dr. Allan Armitage and directed by Judy Laushman has been an invaluable resource to share ideas, work together, mentor each other and shorten the learning curve. Just listening to them share what they were doing was a breath of fresh air and a return to simpler times.

Leave a Reply

More From Varieties...

February 4, 2016

Poinsettia Growers Discuss Their Recent Trials And Triumphs

Growers from Pennsylvania, Illinois, and North Carolina describer their experiences trialing everyone’s favorite holiday season flora.

Read More
Rhododendron ‘Dandy Man’ (Proven Winners ColorChoice Shrubs)

February 2, 2016

Spring Meadow Nursery Partnering With Proven Winners Europe To Introduce New Flowering Shrubs

The expansion creates a cohesive brand for what is now a global market, immediately introducing more than 24 shrubs to the European market, with the potential for 125 or more in the future.

Read More

February 1, 2016

12 New Poinsettias For Holiday Growing

Poinsettias are still a consumer favorite during the holidays for home décor and gift giving. For greenhouse growers looking to get a jumpstart on purchasing young plants for the 2016 poinsettia growing season, there is no shortage of great varieties to choose from. Here are 12 new varieties to keep in mind for holiday product offerings.

Read More
Latest Stories

February 4, 2016

Poinsettia Growers Discuss Their Recent Trials And Triu…

Growers from Pennsylvania, Illinois, and North Carolina describer their experiences trialing everyone’s favorite holiday season flora.

Read More
Rhododendron ‘Dandy Man’ (Proven Winners ColorChoice Shrubs)

February 2, 2016

Spring Meadow Nursery Partnering With Proven Winners Eu…

The expansion creates a cohesive brand for what is now a global market, immediately introducing more than 24 shrubs to the European market, with the potential for 125 or more in the future.

Read More

February 1, 2016

12 New Poinsettias For Holiday Growing

Poinsettias are still a consumer favorite during the holidays for home décor and gift giving. For greenhouse growers looking to get a jumpstart on purchasing young plants for the 2016 poinsettia growing season, there is no shortage of great varieties to choose from. Here are 12 new varieties to keep in mind for holiday product offerings.

Read More

January 27, 2016

Costa Farms’ Season Premier Provides Sneak Peek A…

Costa Farms presented the 2016 Season Premier at its 2-acre Trial Gardens in Miami, FL, in the third week of January. The event showcases varieties from breeders of all sizes to growers and major retail buyers, providing a look at what genetics are coming to the market and how they’ll perform in retail settings and in the landscape, when consumers bring them home. The mild winter climate in South Florida allows Costa Farms’ Research and Development Department to simulate the spring growing conditions of various regions in the country. Because each group of visitors to Costa Farms’ Trial Gardens wants to see what the new plants look like in the environments that matter to them, Season Premier offers several areas within the Trial Gardens that highlight different ways to look at the wealth of new varieties. The New Product Showcase offers a way for retailers to see how plants will […]

Read More

January 26, 2016

Beekenkamp And Danziger Partner To Distribute Poinsetti…

Danziger is continuing to expand its portfolio of products to the U.S. market with the addition of poinsettia cuttings of Beekenkamp’s varieties.

Read More

January 24, 2016

Positive Consumer Experiences Help Advance The Orchid C…

HGTV HOME Plant Collection plans to expand its Fresh Style product line through a partnership with Green Circle Growers (Oberlin, Ohio), which will supply decorative orchids, tropical plants, and indoor garden combinations. Greenhouse Grower asked Maxwell Sherer about Green Circle's orchid program, the latest trends he’s seeing, and where he thinks orchid growing is headed in the future.

Read More
Sansevieria in Corner of home

January 21, 2016

Tropical And Indoor Foliage Plants Emerge As A Lifestyl…

Consumers are incorporating houseplants into their everyday lives, which is driving the trends toward smaller-size plants and unique products that appeal to a younger demographic.

Read More
Pollinator-Conference-NC State

January 20, 2016

How To Promote Pollinator-Friendly Plants This Spring

Following last year’s launch of the National Pollinator Garden Network, groups like the National Garden Bureau and others remind growers that offering pollinator-friendly plants is a great way to keep up with consumer demand.

Read More
Caladium Painted Frog Series (Plants Nouveau)

January 17, 2016

16 New Foliage Plants To Round Out The Garden

Every garden needs a good mix of flowering and foliage plants for an attention-grabbing show of thrillers, fillers, and spillers. These new foliage varieties will not only act as a lush backdrop for colorful blooms, they can also stand on their own with their noteworthy textures and colors.

Read More
California Coast

January 13, 2016

Mark Your Calendars For The 2016 California Spring Tri…

It’s time to think about registering for the 2016 California Spring Trials. You won’t want to miss any stops along the way, so use this quick reference to help with planning for your trip.

Read More
David Roberts Bailey Nuseries Feature Image

January 12, 2016

Bailey Nurseries’ David Roberts Says New, Novel Varieti…

Roberts was recently hired by Bailey Nurseries to be the General Manager and Breeder for Plant Introductions, Inc., which Bailey acquired last year.

Read More
Kelly Norris - feature

January 11, 2016

Kelly Norris: Questioning The Purpose Of New Plants

Norris asks if the time has come to rethink new plant introductions, or how we market them to consumers.

Read More
Weeks Roses Miss Congeniality

January 11, 2016

Weeks Roses Introduces New Lineup Of Roses For 2016

Weeks breeds and grows a wide range of rose bushes, all of which are field tested for many factors.

Read More
CAST2015_Floranova_Vegetalis_Ageratum Cloud Nine Blue

January 8, 2016

Floranova Opening New Chile-Based Research Station, For…

Floranova has announced it is building a new research station in Chile that will open in mid-2016. As a result, the company will not participate in the 2016 California Spring Trials, but says it will be back in 2017.

Read More
Streptocarpus 'Yellow Blue Eye' (Green Fuse Botanicals)

January 5, 2016

15 Flowering Foliage And Tropical Plants For The Home A…

Tropical and foliage plants are the ultimate lifestyle plants because they enrich the environment and provide mood-boosting benefits. Take into account some of these new introductions for a crop mix that helps your customers realize the true benefits of plants.

Read More
BallSeed-WebTrackToGo-app Feature Image

January 5, 2016

Ball Seed Launches WebTrack To Go App For Mobile Phones…

The app is available for free in the Google Play and iTunes app stores, and serves as a companion to Ball’s full WebTrack business management system.

Read More
Terra Nova Garden Decorating Guide

December 31, 2015

Terra Nova Nurseries Releases New Garden Decorating Gui…

The guide’s wheel-shaped design groups new plants by color and was inspired by the Pantone Matching System color guide.

Read More
Northwest Horticulture offers four different mixes of sedum tiles for green roof projects. Photo courtesy North West Horticulture Feature

December 29, 2015

Growing Succulents Never Goes Out Of Style, Here’…

Succulents are more popular than ever, and with good reason. Learn why these tough, low-maintenance plants are a hit with consumers and deserve a place in your greenhouse, then check out the accompanying slideshow for the latest in succulent trends.

Read More
[gravityform id="35" title="false" description="false"]