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"Poul Graff, Q-genetics: "We try to do something different"

High expectations for side budding miniature roses

'Together we are stronger.' It might sound a bit cliche, but it enabled two Danish companies, Graff Breeding and nursery Broløkke, to offer growers all over the world a new series of miniature roses. In 2014, both companies started to cooperate and established Q-genetics in fall of that same year. After breeding and trialing for several years, they now came up with four different series and they have high expectations for their series with side budding varieties. "Focusing on side budding is pretty unique and it extends the shelf life of the flower", says Poul Graff of Graff Breeding.

Michael Larsen and Poul Graff holding the Q-iRose miniature rose series. (Photo credits: Lotte Bjarke)

Joint company Q-genetics
It all started in 2014 when Michael Larsen of Gartneriet Broløkke, a potted rose grower, invited Poul Graff of Graff Breeding, a hibiscus and poinsettia breeder and propagator, to a strategic talk about developing their rose breeding. For over 15 years, Michael and his father has been breeding miniature roses for their own nursery and sold finished plants, along with varieties of other breeders, under the brand name Elvira Rose. Michael found that their rose genetics had reached a level where it would be interesting for other growers around the world and therefore invited Poul. As breeder and propagator of hibiscus and poinsettia, Poul has the experience in marketing and selling products to growers all over the world. Just like Michael, he also saw the international business potential and on top of that many similarities between the two companies.

So, in fall 2014, they established a new rose breeding company and named it Q-genetics ApS. It is owned 50-50 by both companies and managed and driven by both companies. But in order to reach the breeding targets, they invited one more company to join the project. "To ensure a broad view of genetic possibilities, we invited Lilly Sørensen, Florilis Breeding", explains Graff.

Based on their work, they introduced a new miniature rose brand; namely Q-iRose. The name is in line with Graff Breedings' HibisQs and Q-ismas poinsettias series and has several additional meanings, like Q for Unique, Quality, Feminine ♀, and a wise choice (IQ). Next to breeding a healthy plant with a long shelf life, Q-genetics is also targeting and selecting miniature roses with strong and stiff stems, which makes them suitable to ship without a sleeve, and side budding varieties. "There are several good miniature roses on the market, so instead of following in the footsteps of these breeders, we try to do something different", says Poul.

Four series
After years of breeding and selecting and a year of trialing at growers all over the world, they are now able to offer four series; MultiFlora Q-iRose, GrandiFlora Q-iRose, Cadeau Q-iRose and Bouquet Q-iRose. All varieties in the series are bred to be shipped without a sleeve, but according to Poul, the latter series, Bouquet, is what makes them stand out even more. "This series consist of 6 varieties for pot size 10-12 cm and is quite unique as they are all side budding", he says. According to him, the advantage of side budding is that it extends the flowering period of the plant. "Usually, a pot rose flowers around 18-21 days, but now, when the flower is done flowering, the next bud is ready to flower."

In order to offer growers a good and strong assortment, the bread and butter of the industry cannot be missed, stresses Poul. These (more) traditional series are MultiFlora Q-iRose and Grandiflora Q-iRose. "Multiflora is a series that consists of rich flower varieties for pot size 6 to 10 cm and GrandiFlora consists of big flowering varieties for pot 10 to 17 cm", he says.

Besides that, they also have scented varieties in the assortment, which belong to the Cadeau series. "This series consists of big-flowering roses with intensive fragrance."

IPM Essen
From their greenhouse in Denmark, they can ship young plants to growers all over the world. Interested to see and learn about the varieties of Q-genetic? They are exhibiting at the IPM Essen in hall 14 at Graff Breeding booth number 14A31.

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