BF 170: Cut Flower Production

Introduction to the Business of Flower Farming

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Growing and Selling Flowers

Fields of flowers are dreamy and bursting with joyful color, but unless you have background knowledge on production techniques and a solid plan for selling them, those flowers can be more costly than profitable or enjoyable. This course will introduce you to the topics, resources and questions you'll need to answer if you intend to operate a flower farm or add flower production as one component of an established business.

Target Audience

Aspiring/Beginner - if you have 0-2 seasons of experience growing flowers for commercial sale, this course was designed for you. Those with more experience will also glean some good information but may find the course too basic for their needs. Climate, soils, production systems, and appropriate varieties vary a lot from region to region, and this course mostly presents production information relevant to farmers in the humid, temperate climate of the Central and Northern United States. Farmers outside the region are more than welcome to register and will likely still learn a lot since many considerations for flower production are relevant regardless of geography.

Course Objectives

By the end of this course, you will:

  • Understand the seasonal cycles of a flower farm
  • Have a basic understanding of production techniques and growing season management of pests, weeds, and diseases
  • Have several ideas of what species you could grow, where you could sell them, and whether these ideas are viable


The bulk of the course happens on your own time, with discussions, readings, and non-graded review quizzes in Teachable, our virtual classroom. To add to the experience, live webinars will be woven into the online interface of the course to allow you to meet on a weekly basis to learn from outside presenters and ask questions to address your farm issues in real time. If you miss one, they are always recorded and posted for later viewing.

Webinar Schedule

Live instruction for 2023 has concluded. You are welcome to enroll now to complete this course on a self-paced schedule and join our next live session in Fall 2024. All webinars are recorded and posted in your online classroom to watch anytime. Once enrolled in this course, you will retain access to all materials indefinitely and may return to participate in future live offerings of the course as well. Please join us!

Your Instructor

Betsy Lamb and Hannah Volpi
Betsy Lamb and Hannah Volpi

Betsy Lamb is the coordinator for Ornamental Integrated Pest Management (IPM) for the New York State IPM Program. She works with ornamental producers to find effective, economical and environmentally sound techniques to prevent losses from insect, disease, weed, and other pests. She has been in this position, part of Cornell Cooperative Extension since 2006. She has a MS from Cornell and a PhD from the University of Minnesota. One of her primary interests is in the use of biological control to manage insect pests.

Hannah Volpi is the owner of Foxi Flora, a Cut Flower, Herb & Vegetable Farm in Trumansburg, NY. She grows a wide variety of goodies for her weekly CSA, gifts, events, DIY U-Pick, and truly enjoys the floral design elements equal to growing. Her business has grown slowly and steadily each year; with emphasis on mindful practice in relation to everything from the ecosystem of her land to how she interacts with the community. She also started the Ithaca Beer Company Farm to Table program, partnered in Ithaca Beautification Brigade, and offers independent Garden & Landscape design work. When she's not in the gardens, she's walking and swimming with her dog Ruby, and thinking about what other spaces she can turn into gardens!

Course Curriculum

  Week 5. “Closing the Garden”, Fall, What else?/Environment as part of pest management
Available in days
days after you enroll

Frequently Asked Questions

When does the course start and finish?
The course officially starts and ends on the dates given above, when the instructors get involved and begin hosting live weekly webinars. If you are registering after the webinars have concluded for the year, you will have immediate access to all the course materials, and will be able to participate in the next year's webinars if you choose to.
How long do I have access to the course?
How does lifetime access sound? After live instruction ends for the year, you have unlimited access to this course for as long as you like - across any and all devices you own.
What if I am unhappy with the course?
We would never want you to be unhappy! If you are unsatisfied with your purchase, contact us in the first 7 days and we will give you a full refund.

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