My “growing ” interest in sourcing local cut flowers led me to a report published on the University of Florida’s EDIS website, where you can find a wealth of agriculture-related information. While sunflowers, snapdragons and leatherleaf fern all enjoy the attention of farmers in our part of the country, there is room for other cultivars to be successfully grown and sold here. A key quote from the report reads:
The cut flower industry in Florida is small when compared to California, but the potential exists for rapid expansion of many desirable species that grow well in Florida’s warm and humid climate. Cut flowers are almost a $306 million industry in California, producing 72% of all commercially grown cut flowers in the United States. Having a mild climate with advanced greenhouse technology present, Florida has the potential to significantly increase production and sales by growing such flowers as heliconia, bird-of-paradise (Strelitzia), blue ginger (Alpinia), dendrobium orchids, and many others.
What I love most about this report is that the tropical flowers mentioned match consumer demand. If Florida growers start producing crops of bird-of-paradise, I have no doubt we can sell them. Our tropical arrangements are among the most popular in the shop–not only because they are beautiful, but because tropical style is relevant in Florida.
True, it is much harder to find cut flowers grown in Florida than in California, where author Debra Prinzing lives. But thanks to her new book The 50 Mile Bouquet, I’m going to make a serious effort to stock our shop with locally-grown flowers.