Introduction of novel wildflowers into cut flower production offers considerable marketing advantage. Blue smokebush is one such wildflower, which flowers from winter to spring. The aim of this project was to bring blue smokebush into cultivation. This has involved the selection of germ plasm of three blue smokebush species and the development of a reliable means to propagate these species. It was found that each species had different propagation requirements. For some, clonal propagation was possible using cutting techniques while for others, in vitro tissue culture techniques were necessary. The research has also identified the conditions necessary to maximise shoot and root production in blue smokebush species.
The project has characterised a number of blue smokebush selections exhibiting different flowering times, form and colour. With a blue/dark blue early season (flowering early July-mid Sept), a dark blue mid season (mid July–mid Sept) and a light blue/blue late season (late July -early Oct). Production protocols have been developed for the successful cultivation of blue smokebush. This package is available as a Farmnote and includes: species selection for a particular climatic zone, site selection, planting layout for maximising yield per row of planting bed, an irrigation and nutritional program, together with pruning, trellising, postharvest treatment and handling strategies. Testing on export markets has shown blue smokebush to be a sought after cut flower, having specialised use in the ikebana and the wedding trade. With careful marketing this flower should return good profit margins.