Cut flowers can be a profitable horticultural crop for the southern United States. Southern growers can take advantage of usually abundant water, long warm seasons and mild winters. The “big three” cut flowers (roses, chrysanthemums and carnations) are primarily greenhouse crops and have been not only well covered by corporate growers in other parts of the United States but are now grown extensively in Mexico, Columbia, Guatemala and Ecuador, reducing their market value greatly.
The primary focus of the Gulf Coast grower should be field grown specialty cuts. “Specialty cuts” refers to everything else besides the “big three.” While most of these flowers are grown in other parts of our country, the local grower can build a market by growing flowers that do not ship well.
An example would be gladiolas and snapdragons, geotropic flowers that are frequently received by florists in a bent, twisted shape (geotropic flowers will always grow straight up and if laid down, tips will continue to attempt to point upwards, causing permanent deformation). In the mass production of cut flowers, flowers are typically cut on one day and may take weeks to reach their final destination, the consumer. The niche for local growers is the ability to guarantee the florist extremely fresh, high-quality product.