We all enjoy farming, but it is certainly nice to make a few dollars from your farm here and there. Farm diversification is critical for operating a small farm that is profitable. Cut flower farmers have been steadily diversifying their offerings with woody ornamentals, and many make a great profit doing so!
What Are Woody Ornamentals?
Woody ornamentals, sometimes referred to as “woodies,” are trees and shrubs grown and harvested specifically for the floral and cut flower industry. They can also be sold for use in craft making, basket weaving and wreath making.
Benefits of Adding Woody Ornamentals
Adding woody ornamentals to your flower farm or homestead is an excellent source of product diversification. These items can be offered and sold often to the same customer base created from a flower farm but expands your products.These plants also extend your harvest season. Many of them make excellent autumn foliage or are harvested once the leaves fall after the first frosts of fall hit. This is an excellent opportunity for a small flower farm or produce farm to extend their season naturally without the investment of expensive high tunnels and growing extension tools. Such ornamentals can also be propagated and often sold as landscaping plants, meaning they could be a great tool to start venturing into the nursery business.
Popular Woody Ornamentals to Grow
Commonly grown as a shrub in suburban yards, boxwood actually makes an excellent woody ornamental and is a popular choice for boxwood wreath making and florist sales.
Eucalyptus is an excellent woody ornamental for growing in warmer zones. Eucalyptus is a versatile product as it can easily be grown for florist sales in the cut flower industry, but it also is a popular choice for beauty and bath products. Eucalyptus can be invasive so it’s important to plant with care.
Quince is a beautiful blooming woody ornamental that makes a great addition to florist sales. They bloom early and can actually be forced to bloom even earlier by harvesting stems with tight flowering buds and putting them in warm water. This prolongs the availability of this product to your customers, so it is a great addition.
No longer just an iconic shrub in grandma’s garden, forsythia is a vigorous and fast-growing woody ornamental that produces loads of yellow flowered stems. They are easy to grow and can be sold for a good profit to florists.
Several different types of willow make excellent woody ornamentals. Perhaps one of the most versatile of the woody ornamentals, willows can be cut and sold for floral designs and arrangements. They are also regularly used for basket weaving as well as other arts and crafts.