Focusing more on their low altitude crops and to be closer to where the majority of their rose growers do breeder visits. These were the main reasons for rose breeder United Selections to set up a show house in Naivasha, besides their high altitude location in Nakuru (2,150m). The first plants went in in 2018 and now, about a year later, they are very pleased. Last month, FloralDaily.com had the chance to check out the greenhouse with their own eyes.
The 0.5 ha greenhouse.
The greenhouse of United Selections is hired from Panda Flowers and based next to this rose farm at the Flower Business Park at an altitude of 1,800m. "It is used for the selection of new varieties, showing the varieties, and for budwood production", explains David Kibet, Crop Manager at United Selections.
David Kibet gave us a guided tour and in this picture, one of their promising varieties: Snow White.
At their show house, they have 48 varieties on display, including new and existing varieties. Madam Red (the bread and butter variety), its mutant Madam Cerise, Amina, Confidential and Jumilia, for example, have gained a good position in the market over recent years.
The show house
And for the other varieties in the show house, they see a good potential in the market. The ones with high potential, amongst others are the highly productive varieties; Pink Pearl, Yellow Sunburst, Cheetah, Wild Cheetah, and Selina. "All together, we have all the different colors available."
Clockwise: Selina, Pink Pearl, Yellow Choice, Red Lion. Click here for the enlarged picture.
But before the varieties end up in the show house, a selection takes place. "The process includes checking the color, head size, productivity, transportability and vase life. The question we ask ourselves is: 'What does the market want?' We do it every year with the whole team, but we also give growers a peek in our "kitchen".
Over the years, productivity seem to have become more important, notices Kibet. "'I need numbers', is an often heard quote from growers when entering the show house. A crop producing 200+ or 250+ stems are in high demand and fortunately, we also have several of these high producers in our assortment, like Cheetah (red) and Wild Cheetah (cerise), which have a production of 300+". And to get the productivity United Selections achieved, they give the growers support during cultivation. "When to bend it or when to give it a cut? We help them, because if they miss that, they can end up with a low production."
If a grower is eager to start growing a new variety, United Selections wants to supply the grower in a short time. For this reason, they have dedicated an area of the greenhouse for budwood production. "What we have in the show house, we have it here in more beds." After a grower selects a variety, plants are made in the main facility in Nakuru, where clean budwood is available. "In that way, United Selections is able to supply a grower with good quality and free of agro plants. All in all, it will take about 6-8 weeks to supply the plants to the grower."
Pleased so far
So far, Kibet and the team are pleased with this new location. In February, we had our first open day and we were very enthusiastic by the number of visitors we welcomed and the positive reactions that we received. To keep growers up to date of our developments, and in turn push our products to the market, we are planning to organize an open day every year. Apart from the open days, they are also pushing their products to the market by attending trade shows, like the IFTEX and the Naivasha Horticultural Fair. This year, the IFTEX took place in June and the Naivasha Horticultural Fair will take place on September 20 and 21 in Naivasha.
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