Nestled in the Breede River Valley region is the social media sensation, Adene’s Farm Flowers. Owner Adene Nieuwoudt takes us through what it’s like to manage a cut flower farm and what you can do to start one yourself.

adenes farm

How did the idea of Adene’s farm flowers start?

The farm is a family farm that was purchased by my husband’s grandfather in 1934. I used to be a fashion buyer in Cape Town, but moved to the farm when we got married and so started a wedding photography business. During the first few years on the farm, I asked my husband Andrew to prepare a vegetable garden for me. He prepared a space the size of a rugby field and I spent my time filling the space with beautiful vegetables.

After a while, I was given a few flower seed packets from Holland by Jeanette from Paramithi. I grew them, photographed them, and got an incredible response from people on social media. I quickly realised there was a huge opportunity to grow seasonal and bulb varieties of flowers not commercially grown in South Africa.

I started with a hectare of space and 2 employees, but we quickly realised that driving flowers to the florist every morning with a small bakkie was not feasible. We invested in a cold truck, coldroom and hired some more people to help with harvesting and packing. We spent 10 times more than our initial budget, but that’s farming for you!

Since then, we’ve had florists knocking on our doors. We have doubled in size every year until this year, now totalling 5 hectares of space. This year we planted 50 000 dahlias, 5 000 hydrangeas, and hundreds and thousands of other flowers. We hold open days over the weekends where people can visit the farm and walk through the flowers.

What does a typical day look like?

My job is a lot easier now than 6 years ago when we started. I used to pick flowers, fertilize, water, pack orders, and do admin and even drive the truck alone. Now that the team has grown, I have time to spend on the things I love doing – farming.

We start in summer and autumn at 6AM, picking flowers. While the pickers are busy, I look at the flower quality and walk through the farm. At the same time, orders are packed and finalized in the cold room, ready for transporting at 9AM. After that, everyone has breakfast and is given a different job for the day. We currently have a team of 40 people.

I am also a mother of two kiddies and in between the busy workday, I spend time with them doing homework and cooking meals. As you can imagine, I don’t watch much TV!

What is your favourite flower type grown on the farm?

I would have to say dahlias. They are originally from Mexico but they are equally as happy in our SA climate. This year we have grown 150+ varieties on the farm. We focus on cut flower dahlias – long-lasting flowers with long stems. I love that they are aggressive growers, quickly maturing and blooming for around 4 months. We sell tubers online at from July to November each year. Varieties sell out quickly, especially the sought-after types.

What do you teach at your workshops?

The workshops surround flower arranging. Anlu Wahl and Kadou, both floral artists, teach the participants on the farm. I show them how to cut flowers in the morning and give them details about how to hydrate them, their vase life, and more.

What advice can you give to readers looking to start their own small-scale cut flower farms in their gardens?

The most important aspect is planning. Most flower varieties need full sun, but some, like hydrangeas, prefer part shade.

Make sure you start with high-quality seeds or tubers and prepare the soil by mixing in plenty of compost. Keep the soil moist while seeds are germinating to provide the best start for strong plants later on. When transplanting, mix different plant varieties to limit your risks of pest infestation.

Irrigation systems are a lifesaver when it comes to watering flowers. They require daily watering to flourish – the most important ingredient for a healthy and happy plant. Fertilizing is also important, best done every two weeks. Make sure you know what the specific fertilizing needs are for your chosen flowers.

With seasonal flowers, the more often you cut, the more flowers you will get – make sure you keep cutting!

Follow Adene @adeneflowers or visit

Images: Peet Mocke/HMImages