Robotany: How Tech is Sowing the Seed of Flower Production’s Future

Whether in sympathy, gratitude or a romantic gesture, saying it with flowers always makes an impact. Whilst the refreshing charm of a colourful floral burst might not be an obvious candidate to show sweeping technological advancements, it’s fair to say that lurking just past the flower petals is a whole bunch of progressive thinking.

From button push to bloom

When we talk flower growth, we don’t only mean the plants themselves. We’re talking profit. The value of the floral industry in the UK alone is into the billions. What’s more, it’s on the increase. The reason for this upsurge? In the main, it’s the way we’re buying our bouquets.

Whilst many are content to pop into a physical florist or even garage forecourt for a bunch of begonias, there’s a growing demand for digitally-ordered, swiftly-delivered flowers direct from your mobile. With services such as Interflora and 1-800 Flowers providing secure apps, sending a token of floral affection from your smartphone is as simple as liking a Facebook post. This method has enabled companies to bloom, upselling gifts such as chocolate, wine, and teddies alongside traditional bouquets.

A shift in delivery

How those flowers get to the consumer is essential in understanding how the industry is shifting its concentration and entire ethos of production. Successful delivery businesses such as The Bouqs Company have focused on supply chains and how best to ethically and economically source produce at point of sale. Using a proprietary data system that feeds directly from and to the companies’ suppliers, they’re able to connect the customer to the nearest and freshest supplier. This filleting of the middlemen minimises waste and consequently, keeps costs low. It’s smart, information-heavy tech that joins up demand and supply seamlessly.

Homegrown horticulture

Floral tech isn’t just about selling produce for celebration. Flower farming has been at the forefront of some remarkable technological developments, and inspired several more. For the home grower, there are a range of plant monitor devices available for all your domestic horticultural needs. These are small devices that sit with your flower and feedback information on the soil moisture levels, exposure to sunlight and temperature. Check remotely on your flower’s health without so much as looking up from your phone. Wi-Fi enabled and compatible with a downloadable app, it’s the smart answer to the flower fancier determined to see the growth of their plants through to fruition.


The eco-friendly approach to sustainable fuel sources relies heavily on plant growth. The camelina flower’s small oily seeds are a perfect source of biofuel, with the robust crops grown easily even in barren pastures. Incredibly, this small yellow mustard cousin yields a source of fuel for fighter jets. That’s flower power!

Even flowers themselves have inspired tech advancements. The waterproof qualities of lotus leaves gave scientists Jonathan Boreyko and Chuan-Hua Chen food for thought when investigating the plant’s superhydrophobicity. The leaves are curiously water resistant. Investigating the microscale and nanoscale level of the flower’s surfaces, the two man team are researching ways of being able to synthesize the effect by copying the texture of the leaf.

Yes that’s flowers; the catalyst for scientific exploration and discovery, all whilst nonchalantly brightening up our gardens and homes.

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