The Cut Flower and Foliage Industry
The cut flower and foliage industry in Australia is a specialised part of the horticultural sector and involves growing and selling flowers and foliages for cutting and ornamental display.
Growers mostly produce traditional flowers, of which roses, lilies and gerberas are the biggest sellers. Other flower crops include carnation, lisianthus, tulips, freesias and gypsophila. Tropical crops are also grown in some areas, including heliconia, orchids and ornamental gingers. Some products are in demand at particular times of the year, such as chrysanthemums for Mother's Day and seasonal bulbs and flowers in spring. Although most traditional flowers are grown under some type of structure or protection such as polytunnels, there are many exceptions. Virtually all traditional flowers are sold on the domestic market.
Australian wildflowers include Australian native flowers and foliages and certain members of the South African Proteaceae family, such as protea, leucadendron and serruria, and are primarily cultivated in plantations. Some flowers and foliages are wild harvested under licence. Wildflowers account for ninety per cent of the industry's exports.
There are many career opportunities associated with the Australian cut flower and foliage industry, which involves a number of connected components, from growing the plants all the way through to selling the final products to the customer. In this industry, you can choose from a diverse range of working environments, from the farm to the laboratory, classroom or retail business, and become a part of a professional chain that is committed to the delivery of quality floral products.
Industry sectors and supply chain.
People working in the flower and foliage production area are involved in plant breeding and propagation, growing flowers and foliage in the field or glasshouse or providing production advice.
Wholesale and retail
People working in the wholesale and retail sector are involved in sourcing, trading and presenting flowers for individual customers, businesses and events. Careers include florist, auctioneer and international trader.
People involved in the research and industry development sector provide educational opportunities, find solutions to specific problems, develop new varieties and network information throughout the industry. Careers include educator, industry development officer and researcher.
The Australian cut flower and foliage industry is an important part of the economy and has the potential to grow even further. It values professionalism and encourages passionate, qualified new entrants and offers a wide range of fulfilling and challenging careers. As we move towards a future of better environmental stewardship as a nation, the flower industry is also becoming increasingly conscious of the value of researching and using 'green' methods to grow and supply its products. Anyone embarking on a new career in flowers can enjoy being a part of producing something beautiful in a sustainable way that protects the earth's resources.
For more information on career options in the flower and foliage industry click here.