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The Farm Story

Ready, Steady, Grow!

Tracking the Production Cycle, from Cutting to Customer

Selection

With our climate so different to the Western Cape’s, we’ve learned the hard way that what works there doesn’t necessarily do well in KZN, so before we plant any new variety on our farms, we do extensive research and testing. Working closely with Future Fynbos, a plant-breeding/product development company based in the Western Cape, we’ve set aside several trial plots where we test out their most promising new varieties. We usually monitor the plants for at least three years—even longer if it’s a King Protea—before deciding whether to invest commercially in that variety.

Propagation

To maintain our high quality standards, all our cuttings are propagated by a specialist protea nursery in the Western Cape. We usually plant in autumn and spring when the weather is milder.

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Planting

We take great care in preparing the soil before planting, testing it against established criteria and adding fertilisers, compost and cover crops to ensure the ground is as enriched as possible. To prevent weeds from overwhelming and smothering the vulnerable cuttings, we also lay a protective woven fibre weed mat down in rows across the field and plant the new cuttings into the soil through holes in the mat.

The Leucospermum (pincushion) varieties take from 18 months to two years before they start producing marketable stems, and another two years before they reach peak production. Protea varieties can take up to four years before we have the first marketable flower!

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Pruning

Regular pruning of the plants is extremely important to maximise yield and quality, as well as to increase airflow around the plant to reduce susceptibility to disease.

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Pests & Diseases

All our staff are trained to detect diseases and we follow a strict integrated pest management programme during the summer months to keep pests, weeds and diseases under control. Where possible, we use products that are bee-friendly and stimulate soil health.

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Production

We have varieties in season throughout most of the year, but our peak production times run from April to October. Our pincushions can flower up to six weeks earlier than the Western Cape, giving us a unique niche in the market.

Harvesting

When the stems are harvested, they’re put directly into water (in the field) and left to ‘drink’ for at least an hour before processing.

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Packing

In the packshed, the stems are cut to size and the lower two thirds of leaves are removed.

The flowers are then graded according to strict criteria and sorted into grades for packing.

The boxes are carefully packed, strapped and labelled, before being placed immediately into the cold rooms, ready for shipment.

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Transport

The boxes are transported by our refrigerated truck to the airport or freight forwarders. We do our utmost to preserve the cold chain throughout the shipping process, to ensure the flowers arrive in perfect condition.

About Us

Zuluflora was founded in 2013

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Meet the Growers

Our Grow Getters

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Farm Gallery

A Glimpse of Zuluflora

Afternoon light in the packshed illuminates Haycroft packshed staff Nokulunga Mwelase, Sindisiwe Ngubane and Cebile Zaca as they place ‘Succession’ stems on the packing line.