Flower Growing

The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.

Flower Growing


a branch of horticulture concerned with the growing of ornamental flowering plants to obtain flowers for cutting, for transplanting in gardens, parks, and squares, and for interior decoration. A distinction, based on the purpose and characteristics of the plants, is made between flowering plants raised in the open ground and those cultivated in greenhouses. Perennials and annuals that are adapted to local conditions (for example, phlox, peony, iris, pansy, sage, lobelia, and petunia) are cultivated in the open ground. Greenhouse conditions are required for thermophiles (rose, carnation, and cyclamen) and houseplants (palms, cacti, aloe, and ornamental asparagus). Winter forcing is used for lilacs and tulips.

Flower growing has been practiced since early antiquity. The sacred groves of ancient Greece abounded in roses, carnations, narcissus, lilies, poppies, daisies, primroses, and other flowering plants. The gardeners of ancient Egypt and Mesopotamia grew roses, lilies of the valley, and poppies year-round; the papyri mention the favorite flowers of Egypt—the lotus, lily, myrtle, and mignonette. In ancient Rome ornamental gardens with such beautiful flowering plants as roses, stock, and carnations were very popular. The Romans imported flowers from Greece, Egypt, Carthage, and India.

In ancient Rus’ monastery gardens and the gardens of princes and boyars were famous for their flowers. There were many flowers on the estate of Iurii Dolgorukii, the founder of Moscow. In the 16th and 17th centuries double peonies, white and yellow lilies, scarlet mallow, yellow and azure irises, tulips, narcissus, and other flowering plants were grown in the garden of the Moscow Kremlin. Double roses first appeared in Moscow in the 17th century. In the early 18th century formal gardens and parks with flower beds were landscaped, including the Summer Garden in St. Petersburg (1704), the gardens at Petergof (1714–25), and the parks at Tsarskoe Selo. Flower gardens were laid out later at large estates outside Moscow (Arkhangel’sk, Ostankino), and in the late 18th and 19th centuries flower growing became popular in regions well outside of St. Petersburg and Moscow (Alupka and Livadiia parks on the southern coast of the Crimea). Large-scale amateur flower growing was concentrated mainly on country and urban estates; commercial flower growing and the sale of flowers and seeds were engaged in mainly by foreign companies.

During the years of Soviet power, flower growing has made considerable progress. This progress was fostered by a number of resolutions by the party and the government in connection with the reconstruction and development of cities, industrial centers, workers’ settlements, and rural settlements, as well as with the development of beautification projects and park-and-garden landscaping. From 1950 to 1970 large greenhouse-hothouse complexes and flower-growing farms were established in Moscow, Leningrad, Krasnodar Krai, the Crimea, the Caucasus, the Baltic-region, and Siberia. These operations produce cut flowers, flowering plants for transplantation, and seed and other planting material. Commercial flower growing is practiced at many vegetable-hothouse complexes, as well as at kolkhozes and sovkhozes. Many industrial enterprises have special departments in which ornamental flowering plants are grown for the beautification of the factory.

Selective breeding of flowering plants has expanded substantially. Many new varieties have been developed, some of which have received gold and silver medals at international exhibitions. The breeding of new varieties of roses (I. P. Kovtunenko, I. I. Shtan’ko), lilacs (L. A. Kolesnikov), and other ornamental and flowering plants has made great progress. State varietal testing of ornamental and flowering crops was organized in the RSFSR in 1957; testing on an All-Union scale was established in 1964. In 1975, 2,353 varieties were evaluated and 836 varieties were regionalized at varietal-testing stations of the State Commission for Testing Varieties of Agricultural Crops.

The ninth five-year plan (1971–75) included many measures for the development of flower growing. It established a network of farms that specialize in flower growing. The assortment of flowering plants was considerably changed and expanded, and hothouses providing automatic temperature and humidity regulation were constructed. The technology of growing ornamental flowering plants was improved, making it possible to increase the yield of flowers per sq m by 1½ to two times (as compared with 1970). For example, by 1976 the production of cut roses per sq m was increased to 140. The production of flower seeds, mainly by sovkhozes of the association Soiuzsortsemovoshch (Seed Certification), increased eight-fold from 1965 to 1975; 751.6 quintals were produced in 1975. On a number of farms a new method of growing gladioli for cutting during the autumn-winter season has been introduced, making it possible to obtain 120 to 150 flowers (instead of 70 to 80) from 1 sq m of sheltered ground. Flower growing is most highly developed in the RSFSR, the Baltic region, the Ukraine, and the republics of Middle Asia.

In the RSFSR the flower-growing farms of the association Tsvety are the main suppliers of planting material for the beautification of cities in the RSFSR, as well as of cut flowers for sale to the public. During the ninth five-year plan sovkhozes of the association annually grew about 0.5 million rose seedlings, 4.5 million rooted carnation cuttings, 23 million tulip and narcissus bulbs, and 35 million flowers for cutting. Greenhouses and hothouses occupying more than 1.2 million sq m were built on farms. New flower-growing complexes were established, making it possible to produce more flowers during the winter. In Moscow alone 214,600,000 flowers were grown, including 104.8 million in greenhouses. Each year planting material for more than 50 million plants are set out in Moscow’s gardens, parks, and squares. In the RSFSR, farms and research institutions of the Ministry of Agriculture are also engaged in flower growing.

Flower growers in Latvia sold the public more than 100 million flowers during the ninth five-year plan. The flowers included mainly roses, carnations, gladioli, and cyclamens, most of which were raised in greenhouses. From 1971 to 1975, 45,000 sq m of hothouses were constructed for growing flowers and leafy ornamental plants. Farms specializing in the production of bulbous crops—narcissus and tulips—were set up in Riga, Tukums, and Liepāja.

The main tasks of flower growers in the tenth five-year plan are to increase production and assortment (by developing new varieties and introducing wild plants into cultivation), to improve the quality of seed and other planting material, to eliminate seasonality in flower production, and to decrease production costs by mechanizing planting and maintenance (especially in greenhouses). Scientific work in flower growing in the USSR is done by research institutes of fruit growing and horticulture, which have special flower-growing departments and botanical gardens (for example, the Central Botanical Garden of the Academy of Sciences of the USSR and the Nikita Botanical Garden). Research in flower growing is also conducted by the K. D. Panfilov Academy of Communal Farming, the Station for Ornamental Horticulture, the K. A. Timiriazev Moscow Agricultural Academy, and such specialized sovkhozes as the Iuzhnye Kul’tury Sovkhoz and the Tsvety Kubani Sovkhoz in Krasnodar Krai. Much work is done by sections of societies for the conservation of nature and by amateur flower growers. The journal Tsvetovodstvo is published.

Flower growing is developed in many foreign countries, especially in Europe. It is an important branch of the economy in the Federal Republic of Germany, the Netherlands, Italy, France, Bulgaria, Denmark, Poland, and the German Democratic Republic. These countries grow many of their flowers for export. For example, the Netherlands, which specializes in the production of tulip, hyacinth, and narcissus bulbs, annually grows more than 2 billion bulbs, of which about 850 million are exported (1970). The Federal Republic of Germany annually produces more than 94 million cut roses and 113 million carnations (the principal crops); the Netherlands 1,170,000 and 354.5 million, respectively; and Denmark 52.4 million and 16 million (1970). The flower-growing industries of Japan, the USA, India, and Mexico are well developed.


Klang, I. I. Gorodskoe tsvetochnoe khoziaistvo. (Oranzherei i parniki.) Moscow, 1953.
Voloshin, M. P., I. A. Zabelin, and A. M. Kormilitsyn. luzhnoe tsvetovodstvo. Simferopol’, 1959.
Kiselev, G. E. Tsvetovodstvo, 3rd ed. Moscow, 1964.


The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.
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