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4,000 m2 Solomio planted:

Mount Kenya Alstroemeria expands with spray carnation

As the acreage of alstroemeria cultivation is increasing, Mount Kenya Alstroemeria decided to expand its assortment. They grow alstroemerias on 4 ha in Nanyuki, Kenya, and recently planted a new spray carnation variety on 4,000 m2. On top of that, they are also running some trials with cut hydrangeas and scabious. "This way, we are spreading the risk and not over flooding the market with alstroemerias", says the company's Sales Director Henric vd Krogt.

Why carnation
The new spray carnation that has been planted at Mount Kenya Alstroemeria (MKA) is the Solomio of Dutch breeder Hilverda Kooij. "I worked at Hilverda Kooij for several years and I have good connections with the company. I told them about our plans to expand our alstroemeria production with another flower type, and Hilverda Kooij's production manager Eric Bouman advised us to use a part of the greenhouse for the Solomio carnation. His idea was to extend the carnation season in Europe and start supplying this market when the carnation season of the Dutch growers comes to an end, around week 45", explains vd Krogt.

The Solomio carnation is part of the Sparkz collection of Hilverda Kooij and differs from the regular spray carnation range. "This carnation has a typical flower. The colors are striking and it unfolds itself quickly, so it's harvested with open flowers. It is really a flower for the higher end consumer as it is a more exclusive product. The prices are higher than for the regular spray carnations, and the price of the cuttings are therefore too."

The Solomio is planted in the soil on an area of 4,000 m2 in MKA's existing greenhouse. "We are not producing it on a large scale, but it is large enough to see how the crop is developing and if it will be a profitable crop for us." And the Solomios seem to grow well. "It was planted in week 20 and Bouman is visiting our farm every three weeks. Every week, our production manager posts pictures of the crop and some individual flowers in our online WhatsApp group that we created together with Hilverda Kooij. The Solomios will be harvested around week 40."

Expanding assortment
The main reason for vd Krogt to expand their assortment is due to the increasing alstroemeria acreage all over the world. "When all these extra hectares come into production, the market will probably be flooded with alstroemerias. And we do not want to put all our eggs in one basket." Therefore, they started growing Solomio. Even though their decision to continue growing Solomio all depends on the results of the crop, the eagerness to expand their assortment with other flower types is a fact. "We are currently also running trials with cut flower hydrangeas, Scabiosa  and Ranunculus. We will see how it will work out. And if it works out positively, we will expand the greenhouse."
For more information
Mount Kenya Alstroemeria
Henric vd Krogt

Publication date: 9/11/2017
Author: Elita Vellekoop



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