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Greenhouse Cut Flowers

Course CodeVHT239
Fee CodeS3
Duration (approx)100 hours
QualificationStatement of Attainment

Learn Cut Flower Growing in Greenhouses

Greenhouse Cut Flower Production is intensive horticulture. It requires less land but a greater investment in equipment (compared with production in the open). This form of production can also be more complex -requiring not only an understanding of the plants and related horticultural skills; but also an understanding of how to provide and manage artificial environments.

This course is unique and ideal training for anyone looking to work in this exciting and rewarding field of horticulture.

Course Content

There are twelve lessons in this course, as outlined below:‑

1.  Introduction to Cut Flower Production

To describe the nature and scope of Cut Flower production in greenhouses.

2.  Cultural Practices

To determine key cultural practices that are commonly required to develop and maintain a good rate of growth in a cut flower crop.

3.  Flower Initiation & Development

To explain the initiation and development of flowering in a cut flower crop.

4.  Pest & Disease Control

To determine management practices for cut flower crops grown in a greenhouse

5.  Greenhouse Management A.

To discuss a range of greenhouse management techniques related to cut flower production.

6.  Greenhouse Management B.

To explain a range of greenhouse management techniques related to cut flower production.

7.  Management, Harvest & Post Harvest

Determine a range of harvest and post harvest techniques related to cut flower production.

8.  Herbaceous Perennials

Determine greenhouse production techniques for selected herbaceous perennials.

8.  Annuals & Biennials

Determine greenhouse production techniques for selected annuals and biennials.

10. Bulbs, Corms, Tubers & Rhizomes

Determine greenhouse production techniques for selected bulbs, corms, rhizomes or tubers.

11. Filler Plants

Determine greenhouse production techniques for selected filler plants.

12. Miscellaneous

Determine greenhouse production techniques for roses, and for orchids.

 

Aims

  • Describe the nature and scope of cut flower production in greenhouses.
  • Determine key cultural practices that are commonly required to develop and maintain a good rate of growth in a cut flower crop.
  • To explain the initiation and development of flowering in a cut flower crop.
  • To determine management practices for cut flower crops grown in a greenhouse.
  • To discuss a range of greenhouse management techniques related to cut flower production.
  • To explain a range of greenhouse management techniques related to cut flower production.
  • Determine a range of harvest and post harvest techniques related to cut flower production.
  • Determine greenhouse production techniques for selected herbaceous perennials.
  • Determine greenhouse production techniques for selected annuals and biennials.
  • Determine greenhouse production techniques for selected bulbs, corms, rhizomes or tubers.
  • Determine greenhouse production techniques for selected filler plants.
  • Determine greenhouse production techniques for roses and orchids.

What You Will Do

  • Develop a resource file
  • Analyse soils
  • Analyse plants for their response to growing conditions
  • Plan and Implement Practical flower growing
  • Design an irrigation system
  • Lots more

How Do You Harvest and Use Fresh Flowers

Just about everyone loves the appearance of attractive flowers, or the smell of sweetly, fragrant ones. Most people love to bring flowers into their homes to brighten them up, particularly if they don’t have a garden to enjoy. Many will buy their flowers from a florist, supermarket or road side stall. If you are lucky enough, however, to have access to fresh flowers from your garden, or perhaps from a friend or neighbour, then it can be very enjoyable to pick and use your own flowers.

Different species of flowers need to be picked differently, and treated differently after picking. Some flowers can be picked well before the buds open - the buds then open later on. For other species, the flower must be at least partially opened. In some cases, flowers won’t open if they are picked too early.

General Guidelines for Picking Flowers

  • Pick them as early as possible in the day, particularly on hot days.
  • Check the flowers before picking to see if they have any pests or disease problems that might infect your indoor plants, or might be a nuisance or danger to you, such as spiders, ants, aphids, thrips, etc. If the flowers are diseased, avoid them, spray the flowers or shake them gently to dislodge any pests (this can help remove pests, but will not help with diseases).
  • Use sharp cutting tools when cutting flowers. Dip the tools in disinfectant before cutting the flowers. This ensures as little damage as possible is done to the plant you are cutting flowers from, and minimises the spread of diseases.
  • Take the cut flowers inside as soon as possible to prevent them drying out.
  • Flowers cut in warm conditions will have a lot of heat in the plant tissue, and unless cooled quickly, that heat will continue to hasten deterioration. It is therefore essential to get the temperature of most flowers down to 10-15 degrees Celsius as soon as possible after harvest. The best way to do this is to stand the picked stems in deep, cold water, or place them in a fridge temporarily (2-5 degrees C). Prolonged storage in a fridge should be avoided as this can inhibit flower opening on some types of flower.

Storing Flowers

Flower species vary markedly in how long they can be stored for. Some orchid flowers can remain open for two months, but most flowers do not last so well. Flower quality deteriorates from harvest onwards. Good storage slows deterioration, but does not stop it.

Vase Life

Vase life refers to how long the flower will last when placed on display in a vase or similar container. Vase life is influenced by a number of factors including:

  • How and when the flowers were harvested. Harvesting and storing the flowers under optimum conditions (see above) will greatly extend vase life.
  • How hot the area is in which the flowers are displayed – too hot and the flowers will dry out very quickly. Too cold and some flowers may not fully open.
  • Humidity levels – the more humid the conditions in your home the less likely the flower will be to dry out. Too humid however and the flowers may brown off from fungal diseases (not as common). Hot, dry air from heaters will rapidly dry out flowers. Placement of vases/containers to avoid the worst of this will help extend flower life.
  • Using “extenders” to prolong the flowers life. These can usually be obtained from florists or some nurseries. They are often provided by florists as part of the service when you buy flowers from them. They are usually small sachets containing mixtures of sugars and other chemicals that help feed the flower (taken up with water through the cut base) and keep the water in the vase/container clean.
  • An alternative to placing flower stems in water is to insert them into florists “sponge” or “block”. This is a rigid, foam-like material that holds high levels of moisture when soaked. This can usually be obtained directly from florists or from florist suppliers. You might also recycle some from floral arrangements you obtain from florists or have been given.

Requirements of Specific Species

Alstroemeria

Pick when there are 4-5 flowers open on a stem, and store wet at 4 degrees Celsius until ready for use. Use a preservative solution in the water.

Carnation

Pick when the outer petals are almost fully opened. Cool by putting straight into cold water, then placing in cool storage at 2-4 degrees Celsius, until ready for use. Stand in a solution of sugar and bacteriacide.

Cattleya Orchids

Pick 2 to 4 days after the flower bud opens. They can be stored in water at 8-10 degrees Celsius (never below 8) for up to two weeks.

Chrysanthemum

Most are picked when some flowers are fully open, though some varieties can be picked a little earlier.

Gerbera

Pick when the outer row of flowers begins to show pollen. Store dry at 2 degrees Celsius in wax boxes for up to 2 days.

Gladioli

Pick when the first flower is almost open. The flowers can be stored at 4 degrees Celsius for up to 7 days in a moisture retaining material. They can be stored for longer periods at similar temperatures if standing in water, provided they are treated prior to cooling (treat for 24hrs in a solution of sugar and bacteriacide).

Roses

Pick sometime between when colour appears in the bud, to when the first one or two petals are starting to burst open. If being stored, cut a day earlier and place immediately in a preservative solution, then put them into cold storage at 1 degree Celsius until you are ready to use them (you can store for 1 to 7 days).

 

 



Meet some of our academics

Maggi BrownMaggi is regarded as an expert in organic growing throughout the UK, having worked for two decades as Education Officer at the world renowned Henry Doubleday Research Association. She has been active in education, environmental management and horticulture across the UK for more than three decades. Some of Maggi's qualifications include RHS Cert. Hort. Cert. Ed. Member RHS Life Member Garden Organic (HDRA) .
Diana Cole B.A. (Hons), Dip. Horticulture, BTEC Dip. Garden Design, Diploma Chartered Institute of Personnel & Development, PTLLS (Preparing to Teach in the Life Long Learning Sector), P.D.C. In addition to the qualifications listed above, Diana holds City & Guild construction qualifications and an NPTC pesticide spraying licence (PA1/PA6). Diana runs her own landscape gardening business (Arbella Gardens). Active in many organisations including the British Trust for Conservation Volunteers.
Yvonne SharpeRHS Cert.Hort, Dip.Hort, M.Hort, Cert.Ed., Dip.Mgt. Over 30 years experience in business, education, management and horticulture. Former department head at a UK government vocational college. Yvonne has traveled widely within and beyond Europe, and has worked in many areas of horticulture from garden centres to horticultural therapy. She has served on industry committees and been actively involved with amateur garden clubs for decades.
Gavin ColeB.Sc., Cert.Garden Design. Landscape Designer, Operations Manager, Consultant, Garden Writer. He was operations manager for a highly reputable British Landscape firm (The Chelsea Gardener) before starting up his own landscaping firm. He spent three years working in our Gold Coast office, as a tutor and writer for Your Backyard (gardening magazine) which we produced monthly for a Sydney punlisher between 1999 and 2003. Since then, Gavin has contributed regularly to many magazines, co authored several gardening books and is currently one of the "garden experts" writing regularly for the "green living" magazine "Home Grown".


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OrchidsA colourful guide for students, home gardeners and orchid enthusiasts. The first part deals with growing orchids, and the second covers dozens of orchid genera, and hundreds of cultivars. Explore orchids as cut flowers, container plants, indoor plants and outdoor garden plants, in both tropical and temperate climates, across the world.