Ornamentals: Overview

Ornamental crops represent the sixth largest agricultural commodity in the United States. In Florida, ornamental crop production is a rapidly expanding industry. It is the third largest agricultural industry in the State and is the second largest producer of ornamental plants in the U.S.

Alternative farm enterprise opportunities in ornamental crops for small farmers can be a profitable venture provided one has a business, financial, and marketing plans. The choice of an ornamental crop enterprise should be based on your farm’s underutilized resources, such as additional land for crop production, farming equipment, greenhouse or shad structures and market opportunities in the area.

Market opportunities may include production of bedding plants, woody ornamentals, organically grown plants, native plants, or regionally hardy perennial flowers. Once you have decided what the market will support and based on your farm’s underutilized resources available, consider other factors such as how to start a nursery business, capital investments, and legal and regulatory concerns. Finally, the location, layout, production schedule, and equipment necessary should also be taken into account, along with irrigation and fertilization requirements and weed, insect, and disease management.