The Banksia Company is part of the Baker Group and is located at Furner near Millicent in the Limestone Coast Region of South Australia. Mary Whitehead has managed the flower farm since 1991, with output growing over that time from just a few boxes per week to an impressive average of two-and-a-half tonnes. Mary has kindly shared some insights with Australian Flower Industry magazine about the operations and challenges of this successful business. One of their specialty crops is Serruria florida, commonly known as Blushing Bride, the cultivation of which will be the focus of this article.
The Serruria plants are grown in areas of the farm with deep soil, full sun and a high elevation. The whole area is deep ripped to 800 mm and then one tonne of an organic fertiliser and 100 kg NPK special blend is incorporated per hectare of soil by rotary hoe. Plant rows are marked, re-ripped and mounded, also by rotary hoe. Plants are spaced 900 mm apart in single rows which are four metres apart. Previously we grew Serruria in double rows, but the single rows are better for machinery access and air flow, which reduces disease and improves plant quality. Profit per plant is our benchmark, not profit per hectare.