Cut Flower Orchids

Course CodeVHT240
Fee CodeS3
Duration (approx)100 hours
QualificationStatement of Attainment

Orchid Care as a Cut Flower Crop

Growing orchids is more than just producing a pretty flower. It is: 

  • most commercially viable cut flower crop
  • has longer shelf life
  • easy to grow and flower in home environment

If you know the right techniques from planting to harvest you will have far better success in producing great blooms that are much sought after in the flower trade. This course covers those techniques.

Lesson Structure

There are 10 lessons in this course:

  1. Introduction - Plant classification, naming of plants, parts of the flower.
  2. Culture - Basket, epiphytes, media.
  3. Propagation A - Methods, materials, equipment.
  4. Propagation B (Tissue Culture) - Techniques, application, culture nutrients.
  5. Greenhouse Management A - Environmental controls, beds & benches, carbon dioxide.
  6. Greenhouse Management B - Temperature, irrigation, cooling, ventilation, etc.
  7. Pest and Disease Control & Identification
  8. Management, Harvest and Post-Harvest
    • - Harvesting, post harvest, standards, layout, production costs.
  9. Marketing - Marketing the product, valuable orchids, international markets.
  10. Detailed study of one species or group of orchids.


  • Explain the plant naming system, identify flower parts and compile resources.
  • Describe cultural techniques applicable to orchid growing.
  • Describe propagation techniques used for orchids.
  • Explain tissue culture propagation techniques.
  • Describe protected plant production facilities suited to orchids.
  • Explain the day to day management of a greenhouse.
  • Manage Pests and diseases on an orchid flower crop
  • Explain management of an orchid enterprise and the harvest and post harvest of an orchid crop.
  • Explain marketing techniques used for cut flower orchids.
  • Describe a major orchid group

Harvets and Post Harvest: Orchids

Flowers perish easily and are generally fragile, by correct harvest and post harvest handling procedures the grower ensures a clean and quality crop as well as prolonging the bloom time. Sterilise equipment during harvest to prevent premature petal drop and the spread of bacteria.

Different species need to be harvested differently, and treated differently after harvest. The time at which you harvest depends upon the stage of growth which the plants are at; but it can also be affected by market demand. (eg. you may decide to harvest plants before they reach an optimum stage because you can get more for the flowers at that earlier time when demand is higher).

Some flowers should be opened well before the buds open; and the buds then open later on. This makes transport easier, and sometimes means that the flowers last longer. For other flowers, the flower must be at least partially opened. It might not open if harvested too earlier. The grower needs to have a very good knowledge of how the flower continues to develop after harvest.

Bud opening
Buds are stimulated to open by different things. For many plants, heat will stimulate bud opening; so keeping the plant cool is important if you wish to delay bud opening.
Special solutions can be used to help regulate bud opening, extend the life of the flower and discourage disease attacking and rotting the stems. This is particularly important on some types of flowers when they are picked early.
Solutions often contain sugars to compensate (partly) for inadequate food reserves available to the buds, and a sterilant such as sodium hypochlorite, to kill disease organisms in the water.
The strength of chemicals used can be critical. Some flowers are damaged by concentrations which are ideal for others. These solutions need appropriate temperatures to be absorbed by the plant. At very low temperatures they will not be absorbed, so cool stored plants may be sometimes put into a warmer situation for a period before cool storage to allow absorption.

Conditioning for market
Flowers sometimes need to be "hardened up" before packing and sending off to market. This may involve standing in "cold" water to allow turgidity to reach optimum level (ie. maximum amount of water in the plant tissue), before they are packed dry and sent to market. A solution containing a flower preservative and bactericide is often used in the water at this stage.


Who Will Benefit From This Course?

  • Cut flower growers
  • Indoor plant growers
  • Those wanting to set up a business in this field
  • Hobbyists and enthusiasts
  • Florists
  • Horticulturist





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