What not to grow
The major floral crops in NZ include roses, chrysanthemums, gerberas, tulip, gypsophilia, lilies and carnations.
“There are a number of the major varieties of flowers that are grown on a very large scale and also are imported into New Zealand from third countries, often where they have a more economical production scenario such as lower wages and maybe less requirements in various other ways,” says Chris Smellie. “Roses, lilies, gerberas, probably alstroemerias, chrysanthemums, and so on. To be in involved in production of any of those, you are immediately faced with a very large capital cost and a highly technical process.”
Helen Johnson can tell you of some sobering comparisons.
“Some roses used to come into New Zealand at $1 per stem, which is fine, but New Zealand roses cost about $2 to $2.50 per stem. Which ones are the flower merchants or florists going to sell? Our costs of producing a plant are very different to what they can produce in India or China, for example.”