The intention of the Floriculture Section is to present growers, researchers and readers with accumulated results of practical experience, trials, observations and thoughts and; “put the joy of growing flowers (field, potted and greenhouse grown) within the reach of many more people growers”.

 Our main thrust is aimed primarily at beginners/small scale farmers and those who are not achieving success in propagating, growing and marketing all types of flowers. Farmers in flower production should benefit from our advice and from a similar analysis of their individual properties, plant selection, and propagation and production techniques.

 On-going research


A study into the effects of inorganic fertilizers; water management and post-harvest handling in proteaceous(Leucospermum spp.)


The effects of bending cultural technique on growth characteristics and yield of roses(Rosa hybrid L.)

The Floriculture Nursery

 Aims to fulfill the following:

  • High seed quality and cost saving for the producer
  • Long shelf life for the plant material
  • Excellent garden performance

Characteristics of the 3 rootstocks available at HRC

Brook 48

Rosa multiflora

Rosa Indica




Easy to root

Easy to root

Easy to root

Vigorous grower

Not vigorous growers

Vigorous grower

Bark could be easily slipped for budding

Bark could not be easily slipped for budding

Bark easily slipped for budding

Used in Zimbabwe and S. Africa mainly

Used widely in Zimbabwe

Widely used in Israel

Variant ofRosa multiflora


Deep root system


Tolerant to high pH and alkaline soil

 Remember that beauty has a healing effect; as a result our clients are encouraged to have indoor flowers to enhance their environments.

     ii) Potted flowers

  1. African violets

African violets/ Saintpaulias grow from 6–15 cm tall and can be anywhere from 6–30 cm wide. Theleavesare rounded to oval, 2.5–8.5 cm long with a 2–10 cm petiole, finely hairy, and with a fleshy texture. Theflowersare 2–3 cm diameter, with a five-lobed velvety corolla ("petals"), and grow in clusters of 3–10 or more on slender stalks (peduncles). Flower colour in the wild species can be violet, purple, pale blue, or white.

Saintpaulias are widely cultivated ashouse plants. Until recently, only a few of these species have been used in breeding programs for the hybrids available in the market; most available as house plants arecultivarsderived fromSaintpaulia ionantha(syn.S. kewensis). A wider range of species is now being looked at as sources of genes to introduce into modern cultivars.

  1.  Aloe vera
  2.  Cultivar available at HRI Knightlife Pink

    A particularly large genuswith at least 300 species and a myriad of varieties. The Begonias are succulent which in some cases have developed tuberous root system. Their striking leaf shapes and colours endeared them to gardeners everywhere.

    1. Blue flowers (Available at HRI)
    2. Calathea-Marantaceae
      1. Common names: Bambranda, Zebra plant, peacock plant (Available at HRI)

        Scientific name:Calathea makoyana

        A spectacularly beautiful plant grown solely for its leaf colourings as ground cover in the semi-tropics, indoors elsewhere. There are over 100 species each worth knowing.

        Calathea makoyanahas iridescent leaves patterned in cream and olive coloured ovals, with the reverse in matching patterns of manve, pink and grey. Calatheas need a warm moist atmosphere and repotting every summer. Its a perennial which grows up to 2 fit.

      2. Common names Cabbage tree, Palm lily, Grass palm (Available at HRI)

        Scientific nameCordyline australis

        A tropical plant grown principally for its leaf interest. It is a taller palm-like shrub (20 ft) with sharp leaves in starburst form. The sweetly-scented spikes of tiny white flowers appear in late spring.

        C. terminalis (Ti) does bear sprays of small greenish white flowers in summer. Leaves comes in every imaginable combination of green, white, red and purple- the darker colours being the most highly valued.

        To raise plants colour-true, they are propagated from sections of stalk lain in a damp mixture of sand and peatmoss/pinebark.

        1. Common Vetch (Available at HRI)
        2. Ferns (Available at HRI)
        3. Petunia- solanaceae

        The hotter the summer, the better the petunias produce. Open cheerful flowers, they do best in good soil and like lime. Planted from early summer to early summer, they should be pinched back regularly to ensure branching, and fertilized monthly till the hot whether begins.

        Then all they need is water and watch them go.

        Japanese hybrids: Grandiflora and Multiflora are available at HRI

        Colours: ‘White, Purple, Violet, Cherry pie and variegated types

        1. Philodendrons-Araceae (Available at HRI)

        Growing Conditions

        Need rich, loose soil with good drainage and prefer broken sun.

        Water and fertilize regulary for good leaf colour and hose down to keep them glossy.

        1. a)Philodendron oxycardiumis the most popular twining type with heart shaped leaves (Vine 30 fttropical). It grows all year round
        2. b)P.solloumis the darkiest of the shrubby type, its leaves may be 3 ft long. It is a shrubby vine which grows upto 6 fit or more. It is subtropical in origin and grows all year round.
        3. c)P.pertusum- popular for indoor effect. It is actually a juvenile leaf of Monstera/Cheese plant (Split leaf philodendron) vine. Grows all year round.
        1. Perlargoniums-Garaniaceae (Available at HRI)

        Common name: Zonal geranium(Common Geranium)

        Scientific name:Pelargonium zonale

        This is a perennial (6-30inch) which grows all year round. Wonderfully varied shrubby prerenials for gardens everywhere. Includes all the fancy coloured-leaf varieties and most of them grown in pots. Does well in soil which is not too rich and moist. They like going acid, sandy and quick draining with minimal attention. Irrestible to cartepillars of every sort and should be sprayed with insecticide regularly.

        1. Poinsettia- Euphobiaceae

        Common name: Ponsettia (Available at HRI)

        Scientific names:Euphobia pulcherrima

        Of all the Euphobias, poinsettia is the showiest( Shrub 10ft). The family has more than 1,000 annuals, perennial shrubs and succulents- many with little or no resemblance to one another, and coming from all the four corners of the world.

        All Euphobias have the following in common:

        -         An unpleasant milky sap usually poisonous

        -         Spectacular flower-like arrangement which are not flowers at all, but a series of highly-coloured bracts or modified leaves surrounding a group of tiny simple flowers, some male, some female.

        1. Silver bush

        The Horticultural Research Institute believes in Public – Private Partnership(s):

        Possible areas of collaboration:

        • Biotechnology – in the areas of tissue culture
        • Value Addition – Post harvest Processing
        • Protected Agriculture
        • Organic Agriculture Initiatives
        • Farmer Training
        • Information generation and dissemination

        Production Manuals on the following crops are available at HRC

        10) Mushroom

        11) Nyevhe

        12) Okra

        13) Onion

        14) Potato

        15) Strawberry

        16) Sweet Potato

        17) Tomato

        18) Tsunga


         SERVICE                                                      WHEN

        Advisory                                                        All the time


        Planting Material

        Sweet potato vines                                         Dec-March


        Apple trees                                                      Aug-Dec

        Peach trees                                                     Aug-Dec

        Apricot trees                                                   Aug-Dec

        Grapes vines                                                  Aug-Dec

        Guava trees                                                   Aug-Dec

        Fig trees                                                         Aug-Dec


        Vegetable Seeds

        Tsunga, Chembere                                       All the time




        1. Cream skin and flesh
        2. Has long, starchy tubers which store well
        3. Early maturing – takes 3 – 4 months
        4. Yields up to 25 t/ha
        5. Very popular at Mbare vegetable market

        Germany Two

        1. Widely grown variety in Zimbabwe
        2. Red skinned and white fleshed
        3. Starchy and sweet long tubers
        4. Early maturing – takes 3 – 4 months
        5. Yields up to 30 t/ha
        6. Tubers store well
        7. Very popular at Gweru, Bulawayo vegetable markets
        8. Mozambique White

          1. Red skinned and white fleshed
          2. Average sized tubers that are smooth skinned
          3. Long season variety – takes 6 months to mature
          4. Yields up to 35 t/ha
          5. Lucrative markets such as supermarkets favour this variety


          1. Light red skin and cream flesh
          2. Cylindrical big tubers which are easy to lift
          3. Commonly used for processing into chip and flour
          4. Yields between 31 – 35 t/ha


          1. Bronze coloured skin and orange fleshed
          2. Chunky tubers which are rich in carotene
          3. Yields up to 30 t/ha
          4. Magutse

            1. Khaki skin and light cream flesh
            2. Takes 4 – 5 months to mature
            3. Yields up to 50 t/ha


              • Pale skin and cream flesh
              • Produces long thick tubers
              • Yields up to 30 t/ha


            1. Dirty skin and cream flesh
            2. Large tubers
            3. Takes 4 months to mature
            4. Yields 20 to 30 t/ha

            Sweet potato Nursery production

              • Perennial root crop although commercial grown as an annual
              • Propagated vegetatively by means of cuttings
              • Sprouting of auxiliary buds and root development at the base of the cutting
              • Sweet potato vine harvesting for sale at HRC (Variety; Chingovha)


                          1.Grapes(Table, Wine and Raisin)

                Varieties -        (Black) – Stueben, Pirobella, Suffolk red, Giant Isabella, Malawi Giant

                                        (White) – Himrod, Seneca, Thompsom seedless; Steen; Jacaranda;

                *Steen is a wine grape

                *Jacaranda is a rasin grape

                           2.    Plums

                Varieties -        Red beauty; Latitia; Saphari sunset; Rosearli; Shiro; Reubennel; Eldorado; Harry    Pickstone; Songold

                Varieties -        Perma mint; Early sunlight, Unico; Margarate sprite

                4. Peach

                Varieties - Snow crest, Snow white; Early grande; Earlibelle; Summer sun; Van dyke;     Moreira, Oom sarel, Professor Black, Classic, Rhodes

                1. Apricots

                Variety -          Pulstone

                1.   Fig variety– Large white
                2.   Apple

                Varieties:        High Chill; Golden Delicious, Top lady, Drakenstein, Mollies Delicious.

                                        Low Chill; Annah, Ellah, Maayan,Michael

                Rootstocks available at HRI

                • Quince – for Pears
                • MM106 _ apples
                • Mariana – Plum and Peach
                • Kakamas - Peach

                Strawberry varieties available are as follows:

                • Rolinda – high yielding with soft small berries, mite resistance
                • Rovelle – very firm among the hardest, good flavor
                • Selekta – firm, large conical berries, vigorous plants that produce large runners, good yielder in winter where severe frosts do not occur, and can be grown in tunnels. It colours evenly in summer.
                • Tioga – early cropper with large berries that are firm throughout the season, uniform ripening, mite resistance
                • Rolissa – fairly high yielding with small berries, good flavor

                Training courses which can be offered by the Horticultural Research Institute

                • Nursery management
                • Budget formulation
                • Systems thinking/ systems approach
                • Project management
                • Soil and leaf sampling
                • Interpretation of results of soil and leaf sampling
                • Conservation agriculture
                • Open field tomato production
                • Greenhouse tomato production
                • Leaf vegetable production (cabbage, rape, cauliflower, broccoli, sugar loaf, tsunga, chemberedzagumana)
                • Carrot production
                • Onion production
                • Sweet potato vine and root production
                • Potato production
                • Fruit tree production inclusive of grafting and pruning techniques
                • Seed potato production
                • Post- harvest techniques for a range of horticultural crops
                • Result-Based Management Courses

                How are the training courses offered?

                Farmers can directly get in touch with us through contacts provided.

                Farmers can also reach us through their AGRITEX Officers indicating training needs and most appropriate dates and venues.

                We prefer farmer field school approach, though on-station trainings are possible.

                 What is the cost of training?

                We are very flexible, but we operate at cost recovery.

                We also encourage farmers to form effective groups, and this does not only lower the cost but enables us to transform the community and also sharing experiences, fears and expectations.Non-Government organizations can also engage us to train their clients.