Learn to grow bulbs as a commercial cut flower crop!

Why not get your hands dirty and explore the possibilities of growing flowers as a career. This course is suitable for the beginner, as well as for the grower with some experience looking to advance their career.

Other opportunities include:

  • Farmers wanting to diversify
  • Small property owners seeking supplementary income from a cash crop
  • Farm or nursery workers looking to take the next step in their flower growing careers
  • Anyone wanting to explore the possibility of growing bulbs commercially and seeking a foundation for moving forward.

     You will be surprised at how much you can learn about flowering bulbs - and how much the floriculture industry needs informed experts. That expert could be you.


Learn about Growing Bulbs

Cut flower production is an expanding industry worldwide. People buy cut flowers for special events (eg. funerals, weddings, birthdays). They also buy them for less significant occasions; perhaps just to surprise a loved one, or when visiting a friend or relative. These 'less special' purchases increase as disposable income increases. Cut flowers have a great deal of export potential, and the home market has not yet been developed to its full potential.


Course Structure and Contents

1. Introduction - Parts of the flower, understanding soils, hydroponics.
2. Cultural Practices - soils, planting, etc.
3. Flower Initiation & Development
4. Pest and Disease Control - Identification and control of common pests and diseases.
5. Managing Yield, Greenhouse Culture
6. Management, Harvest and Post-Harvest
- Crop schedules, layout, marketing, etc.
7. Gladioli and Lilium.
8. Narcissus.
9. Iris.
10. Other Bulbs - Dahlia, Freesia, Hyacinth, Tulip, Alstroemeria, Amaryllis.


Duration: 100 hours



  • Identify and discuss different types of cut flower bulbs
  • Describe cultural practices for production of different cut flower bulbs
  • Explain the initiation and development of flowers in plants with bulbs, rhizomes, tubers, corms or other specialized parts.
  • Manage pests and diseases for a crop of cut flower bulbs
  • Manage the quantity and quality of a crop of cut flower bulbs, both grown in the open and in a greenhouse.
  • Manage the harvest and post harvest of cut flower bulbs.
  • Compare the production of a variety of different cut flower bulb crops.
  • Explain the production of Iris and Gladioli cut flower crops.
  • Explain the production of Narcissus cut flower crops.
  • Explain the production of Lilium and Gladioli cut flower crops


More Background on the Cut Flower Industry (i.e. Floriculture)

Floriculture enriches the lives of millions of people every year and is an industry attractive to both scientist and artist. The term 'floriculture' is derived from Latin, and means 'to cultivate flowers'. Flowers are in demand all year round with peak requirements at special times of the year, such as for Valentine’s Day, Mother’s Day, Easter, Christmas, and so on. Particular festivals often influence the type of flowers required e.g. red roses for Valentine’s Day.

Floriculture businesses produce fresh and dried flowers and foliage for a mixture of markets such as wholesale flower markets, florists and retail outlets, and in some cases for export. The wide range of different flowers and foliage grown can include roses, carnations, orchids, native flowers, bulb and annual flowers, and tropical flowers. Some flower farms also grow flowers in open fields for their essential oils.

Floriculture includes propagating, growing and marketing of all cut flowers, flower seeds and seedlings, bulb growing, nursery operation, chemical protection of plants, post-harvest storage and handling and use of preservatives.

A proportion of flower production takes place in greenhouses. In addition to the greenhouse production, floriculture encompasses outdoor production of herbaceous plants and flowers, and field production of cut flowers.


The International Flower Market

Cut flower production is an expanding industry worldwide. It has a great deal of export potential, and although most flower producing countries meet the domestic requirements of their cut flower markets, the home market potential in many countries could be further developed. Spending on cut flowers is stronger in some countries than others, the average Australian for example spends far less on cut flowers than say, the average German or Frenchman).

Germany imports most of their cut flower requirements (up to 70%) with The Netherlands being the largest exporter to Germany. Japan and the United States have the largest cut flower market almost doubling that of Germany. During the later part of the 20th century, cut flower production developed rapidly.

Colombia, Israel and to a lesser degree, Australia, developed export cut flower industries rapidly during this period with China and India having the largest areas under cultivation (but low yields per hectare).

The Netherlands has been, and continues to be a major export market that also has a large domestic demand, the local demand almost equaling exports. Countries such as India and China although having large production areas are still in the developing stage mainly due to the low quality of exports and the financial constraints limiting imports. Colombia and Kenya export most of the cut flowers produced with only a small local market.

Being in the southern hemisphere means that some countries (e.g. Australia, South Africa, New Zealand) are able to produce out of season flowers for the northern hemisphere where most of the world's population resides.


Succeeding in the Trade

In order for a producer to be successful they need to address issues such as:

a) What is the market demand? i.e. what will the producer grow, does it have an established market or is this a new product?

b) How will it be presented? ie. as bunched flowers, individual stems or as bouquets?

When a grower decides to produce a certain product the decision is influenced firstly by the constraints of the production area and secondly by the market research conducted before production commences. Potential crops are not just limited to cut flowers but may also include dried flowers, native flowers, cut foliage and fillers for bouquets. Most growers increase their chance to make a profit by growing more then one variety throughout the growing season by choosing species that extend the harvest period. Successful growers will understand the limitations of the growing area through soil analysis, climate, aspect, drainage and irrigation and also the specific requirements of the varieties they choose to grow ie. soil pH, fertiliser etc.

Where is my market?

Producers close to their markets have a competitive edge, for example - the Netherlands and Germany. Smaller growers may decide to supply the domestic market only or may find a niche market for exports of specialty products, ie. native flowers. Flowers can be sold through wholesalers at markets to small local outlets, or at the farm gate. The small beginner may find it easier to start with local retail outlets, the local farmer’s market and farm gate sales and even the internet, and then gradually branch out to larger distributors as production increases. Wholesalers usually require specific grading, packaging and a consistent quality, although prices will be lower then through direct sales wholesalers will handle large quantities for the grower. Exporters have specific problems they need to overcome in order to satisfy potential export markets. Quality is probably the most important element, an efficient transport system is vital in retaining product quality as is the production system used and the harvest techniques including handling and post harvest handling.



Just go to the top of this page for pricing and enrolment options. If you have any questions you can contact us now, by:
Phone (UK) 01384 44272, (International) +44 (0) 1384 442752, or

Email us at [email protected]