Tips for Ornamental and Cut Flower Growers

Growers looking to produce for the commercial cut flower market need to keep a number of things in mind when it comes to ensuring good survival rates and producing high quality flowers.

Whether you’re cultivating commercial cut roses, hydrangeas, native New Zealand blooms like the Kowhai or anything in between, here are some things to keep in mind.

Maintaining your soil

Soil health is an essential consideration regardless of what is being grown. This may seem obvious, but we often see issues arise due to lack of soil preparation or soil that has been drained of nutrients and not replenished.

Generally speaking, most flowers do best in loose, well-aerated soil with plenty of drainage. The soil should also contain lots of organic matter and a pH slightly on the acidic side. Understanding the chemical makeup of your soil is important in order to apprehend its pH level as well as identifying any potential nutrient deficiencies that may need to be corrected. This can only be done by conducting a soil test. Sending soil samples to soil testing laboratories should provide you with the most accurate results.

Soil with good aeration and drainage can be achieved through well-structured soil. What does this mean? Humic acid is made up of large molecules that, among other things, increase water retention in all types of soil, ensuring your plants are able to access the nutrients they need. Read our article on the benefits of humic acid here. Well structured soil with proper drainage can also help deal with issues like phytophthora fungal infections. Our Humax line of humic acid products are highly concentrated and the perfect solution.

Increasing plant survival rates

Mycorrhizal fungi is another excellent addition to your soil, specifically when planting new plants. Mycorrhiza refers to the symbiotic relationship that develops between a plant’s root system and fungal hyphae (the microscopic branching filaments of a fungus). Once these tiny hyphae link with plant roots, they extend the roots’ effective reach. This enables plants to absorb nutrients more efficiently, which is especially important in less nutrient-rich environments, while also contributing to the stability of the soil. You can read in-depth about these remarkable organisms in this article. Mycorrhizal fungi has proven to increase plant survival rates and boost their resilience to stress and weather conditions.

Fertilising your flowers

Flowering plants require the principal macronutrients Nitrogen, Phosphorus and Potassium in proper proportions to remain healthy. Nitrogen encourages lush foliage growth which may come at the expense of flower formation if applied excessively. Phosphorus, on the other hand, stimulates blooming and supports healthy root systems and potassium contributes to strong stems and helps plants better absorb nutrients and water as well as contributing to colour.

Cultivating roses, for example, benefit from higher Nitrogen applications early in the season to induce growth in foliage. As the season progresses, switching to higher concentrations of phosphorus and potassium leads to healthy flowering. Towards the end of the season, incorporating Phosphorus and Potassium with little to no Nitrogen in your fertilisation regime helps strengthen the roots and minimise foliage in preparation for the next season.

A formulation like our Synergizer fertiliser can help your commercial cut flower crops produce vibrant and healthy flowers, by delivering a balance of all macronutrients, with a higher concentration of Phosphorus, while quickly correcting any deficiencies in macronutrients through foliar application. NPK are very important elements, but you must always remember your secondary and trace minerals also.

Have questions? Email Molly here to book a free nutrition consult or to discuss how we can help your growing operation.