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Cut flowers


  • South Africa has a diverse and highly suitable natural environment for the production of flowers. Indoor and outdoor production occurs across differing climactic regions of South Africa.
  • Most commonly produced products include Roses, Carnations, Chrysanthemum, Proteas, Foliage, Gypsophila, Limonium and a wide range of seed grown flowers e.g. Lisianthus, Delphinium, Helianthus, Limonium, Grasses, Craspedia, Carthamus, Larkspur.
  • South Africa’s indigenous flowers such as gladioli, nerine, freesias and gerberas, have undergone many years of extensive research in Europe, and have become major crops worldwide.
  • Flower bulbs are also produced in great numbers in a wide variety of species.
  • Production is both for the local market as well as various export markets.
  • South African proteas and so-called Cape greens (fynbos) are concentrated mainly in the Western Cape. South Africa is the leading exporter of protea cut-flowers,
Sources: Jac Duif and the SA Yearbook which can be found at 

International business environment

Developed countries in Europe, America, and Asia account for more than 90% of demand.

International trade in floriculture, to a large extent is organised along the regional lines:

  1. Asia-Pacific countries are the main suppliers to Japan and Hong Kong.
  2. African, Middle Eastern, and other European countries are the principal suppliers to Europe’s main markets.
  3. Colombia and Ecuador dominate the market in the USA.
Source:  [Page now defunct]

Local business environment

  • The Multiflora flower auction is by far the most important and convenient marketing channel for local marketing. The auction, situated at City Deep, has daily auctions from Mondays to Saturdays from 07h00 where major agents and wholesalers buy flowers. The auction is market driven and prices for products are determined by supply and demand. For newcomers to the industry a visit to Multiflora is absolutely essential to see the heartbeat of sales in the floricultural industry in South Africa. Visit for more information.
  • There is also a strong network of flower wholesalers, distributors and exporters. Bunches For Africa buy flowers from farmers, for example. Visit for more information. Another example is Flora Town who used to do flower auctions, whose focus now is on import/export and wholesale/retail. The Multiflora website gives contact details for flower shops, agents and flower wholesalers in Greater Johannesburg area.
  • Read about the fynbos and protea sectors at Cape Flora SA website, See also the Agribook blogs “Overberg media trip: fynbos packhouse (part 7)” and “Overberg media trip: Flower Valley Farm (part 8)” at
  • The Secret CapeTown website gives details of flower shows. See

For the newcomer

So you want to be a flower farmer? Potential growers and investors have to reflect on a few vitally important facts beforehand.


The flower industry is complex and requires specialist knowledge and input. It requires:


  1. Massive capital expenditure (mostly millions).
  2. Extensive technical knowledge – more than often a grower learns from a family business.
  3. Intensive, sustained daily management.
  4. And most importantly, a market. Over-supply of crops on the domestic market occurs regularly, resulting in a downward trend in prices. The export market is new and still expanding, but requires careful market planning.


According to the World Bank Technical Paper, the following preconditions are laid down for the SA Flower Trade:


  1. Basic market opportunity – One has to have sold the product prior to starting the venture, or you have to know where a market for that product exists before planting. Access to Europe is difficult and expensive. Often there is an over-supply, and farmers are the ones to suffer.
  2. Availability of sustainable human capital – Human capital in the form of learned and committed people who are prepared to take a risk is required. South African labour, compared to the rest of Africa, is no longer cheap.
  3. Minimal level of infrastructure – This pertains to availability of airfreight, cooling facilities, roads, telecommunications etc. Also of importance is an internal infrastructure relating to hot¬houses, fertigation, pesticide systems, heating-and-cooling, storing facilities.
  4. Financing arrangements – High capital investment is a pre-requisite.


Before starting a new farm, you will need a detailed business plan. Issues such as weather, soil types, water quality, fertilising and spraying programs, harvesting, pack¬aging and marketing should be addressed.

Source: South African Flower Export Council

Also refer to the “So you want to grow proteas” and other documents on

National strategy and government contact

Department of Agriculture, Land Reform and Rural Development (DALRRD)

Find information and contact details of the different DALRRD directorates at

  • Directorate: Plant Production
  • Sub-directorate Agricultural Product Quality Assurance

Find Export Regulations and Standards for flowers on the website.

Department of Trade, Industry and Competition (the dtic)

Perishable Products Export Control Board (PPECB)

Role players

Note: Click to expand the headings below.  To get a free listing on our website like the ones below, visit here for more information or place your order hereDisclaimer: The role player listings are not vetted by this website.

Dutch Flower Group – Thirty companies serve the entire international floriculture chain
Mayford Seeds/SAKATA – Category: suppliers of seeds/plant material.
Netflorist – Category: suppliers of seeds/plant material
Ludwig’s Roses – Category: suppliers of seeds/plant material
South African Flower Union (SAFU) – The South African Flower Union (SAFU) represents flower arrangers and other forms of floral art.
South African Flower Export Council (SAFEC) SAFEC, previously an export council and a federation of member organisations, no longer exists.
South African Flower Growers’ Association (SAFGA) c/o Dr. Pierre Adriaanse, Horticulture Centre at UNISA padriaanse [at]
South African Flower Union (SAFU) – Find the “Floral Art Education” option on the website.
Knowledge Academy – A Floristry Introduction course is included among its offerings.
Agricultural Research Council (ARC)-Infruitec/Nietvoorbij – The ARC Infruitec-Nietvoorbij manages genebanks including one for indigenous flowers.

Further reference:

Training and research

Companies involved

  • gives contact details for flower shops, agents and flower wholesalers in Greater Johannesburg area.
  • The SAFGA membership list covers categories like flower growers; consultants; suppliers of greenhouses, fertilisers and growing mediums; freight forwarders and export agents etc. Find SAFGA’s details under the “Associations involved” heading.
  • For the various inputs consult the other pages on this website e.g. “Hydroponics and undercover growing”, “Fertiliser” etc.


Protea specific


Websites and publications

Visit the websites listed earlier on this page e.g. and

  • Available under “Resource centre” on the Department of Agriculture, Land Reform and Rural Development (DALRRD) website,, are the following grower notes: : (i) Caring for your flowers at home (ii) Carnations (iii) Chrysanthemums (iv) Gerbera (v) Production of roses in South Africa (vi) Protea brochure (vii) Proteas production guidelines (viii) Protea.
  • CD Roms from the ARC-PHP (Plant Health and Protection ) include one on flowers. Write to booksales [at] or infopri [at]
  • “Local Is Lekker – Celebrating Local Floral Suppliers”. Read the Rambling Rose blog at
  • The AgriSETA Assessment Guide Primary Agriculture “Monitor the establishment of a crop” includes ornamental plants and tunnel crops. See
  • Find the many grower guides at
  • Find details of Cut Flowers of the World: A Complete Reference for Growers and Florists by Ben-Erik Van Wyk and Johannes Maree at and
  • Orchids of South Africa: A Gardener’s Guide by Hendrik Venter. Order it at
  • Protea cultivation: From Concept to Carton by Dr Gerhard Malan. Order it at fynflor [at]
  • Find the International Protea Register on
  • Find the publications on These include The SAFU Handbook for Judges and Flower Arrangers.
  • – “everything you need to grow proteas”


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