Profitable Small Business: Dried Flowers Business: Article: Page 116





Profitable Small Business: Dried Flowers Business

Flower production is fast growing business in agriculture, today with a strong demand for all types of flowers, especially unique and hard-to-grow varieties.

If you enjoy gardening and want to turn your gardening hobby into a business, think about growing flowers for profit.

You can easily start it, right from your home. You can use your own garden as the source for the flowers to be dried and sold.

Pay attention to flower quality. Types of crops will determine what you can offer the market, price and demand will determine what can be grown profitably.

Crop Selection for dried flower business is important. Write Business Plan very carefully. Some of the flowers lose their ornamental value after drying. The quality of dry flowers also varies.

Celosia and straw flowers, are very easy to grow and easy to air dry. Growers find the market for dried flowers are craft shops, antique shops and selling dried flowers, arrangements to flower shops and restaurants.

Harvesting for Dried Flower Business: Usually, flowers are harvested just before they are fully open and the color has not faded. Flowers harvested at fully open stage took lesser time for drying.

Drying Techniques for Dried Flower Business:
The quality and appearance of dried flowers are greatly influenced by the method of drying. Various techniques involved for the production of dried ornamental plant material includes air drying, press drying, oven drying, embedded drying and freeze drying etc in dried flower business. The NBRI, Lucknow is an institute in India which works on the dehydration of flowers, foliage, and floral crafts.

1. Air Drying : A very common method of drying where plant materials are attached to rope and are kept in hanging position either in the dark or in the sun for quick drying. Air drying requires a warm clean and well-ventilated area.

2. Press Drying: In press drying, the flowers and foliage are placed between the folds of newspaper sheets or blotting papers. These sheets are kept one above the other and corrugated boards of the same size are placed in between the folded sheets to allow the water vapor to escape.

3. Embedded Drying: Sand, sawdust, borax, silica gel, prelate and combination of these are used for embedding. Among these, sand and borax are cheaper. For delicate flowers like roses, carnation dahlia, silica gel etc, is the ideal drying agent.

4. Oven Drying: Hot air and microwave ovens are also being used for drying and to improve the quality of dry flowers. In these methods, the plant material is kept at a controlled temperature for a specified time. Temperature plays an important role in the drying of flowers.

5. Glycerin Drying: Glycerin drying has been used to preserve foliage. Comparatively less expensive and has a high water getting capacity. Many types of foliage have been successfully preserved by either immersing leaves or placing crushed stems in a 35 percent glycerol solution.

6. Freeze Drying: Ice held under conditions of partial vacuum and low temperature will evaporate on heating without going through a liquid phase. Chemical reactions will not occur. Color and even fragrance are retained in the dried flowers.

To expand the business, first is to lease vacant land to increase flower production, and the second option is to purchase flower. Once dried and packaged, the flowers can be sold to retailers on a wholesale basis.

Demand For Dried Flower: India exports to USA, Europe and Japan. Volume of export is about Rs 120 crore per year with 200 variety of flowers to 50 countries. In includes making handmade paper, lampshades, candle holders, photo frames, jute bags, books, boxes, topiary, cards and several gifts. The use of dry flowers in the making of these products enhances the beauty and appearance of these products.

Wishing you all the best,

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