With the increase in market demand for bouquets packed at source ready for market consumption, Selecta one breeding has risen to the challenge to increase the choices available for bouquets in Kenya with chrysanthemums that need no supplementary light, just 12 hours of sunlight per day, and deliver minimum 55 cm stem.
Andre Lek conducting trials.
Sustainable production can be explained in many ways and at the Selecta one group, it does not stop within their daily practices; it goes to their main core - breeding process; focusing on the search of more sustainable varieties; energy saving, resistant to less chemical environments and longer vase life, explains Selecta's Area Manager André Lek.
Packing bouquets at source
The market is increasingly demanding for bouquets that are made at source, but what is the advantage? "Making bouquets at source reduces the plant handling of the stems resulting in better quality plants with longer vase life to end consumers", says Lek.
And with Selecta's aim of reaching responsible breeding - a commitment that must be fulfilled with successful varieties that meet worldwide quality, standards and conditions – they reach a milestone with their new chrysanthemums.
More chrysanthemums on trials.
Chrysanthemum used to be a challenging crop to grow in Kenya
Even though chrysanthemums fit very well in bouquets, it is not a crop preferred by many growers as it used to be a challenging and costly crop to grow. "In the past, in Kenya, chrysanthemums have been considered as crops that need long days to attain the minimum stem length and weight required for the market; consequently, not many companies in Kenya were willing to grow chrysanthemums because of the complexity of growing between the need for long days, black out nets and specialized greenhouse."
"On top of that, the reliance on lighting and the unreliability on the power system in Kenya made the crop unpopular in comparison to other fillers; the production costs were therefore too high for the final price of the stems, which made growers give this beautiful flower a wide berth and made it a new challenge for the Selecta one breeding department."
Neither extra lightning nor greenhouse modifications needed
Over the years breeding has made leaps in Chrysanthemum genetics, Selecta one’s boldness to breed and select in Kenya has resulted in the ability to select energy-saving varieties that do well under the Kenyan climate and natural day length without the need for supplementary light.
"These varieties, sold as rooted cuttings ready for sticking, allow the grower not only to save some resources by avoiding supplementary light, but also to harvest stems up to 55 to 70 cm height enough for the bouquet market."
Selecta one varieties are even more appealing as growers do not have to make any modifications to their greenhouses and can use the structures they were previously using for roses. "These varieties allow growers to adapt their bouquets to each season and celebration while ensuring high premium products for wholesalers and florists."
Modify bouquets easily
"Chrysanthemums are one of the few flower crops that offer a wide range color pallet, shapes; single, double, button, cushion and size; big flowers and small flowers - all with a short growing period allowing to easily modifying bouquets."
Assuring the delivering of improved product lines and new varieties to producers the new chrysanthemum varieties are bred and selected in Kenya "and thus come with some extra charm", adds Lek. "They dance to the African beat, they are full of vibrancy and colors that will jump out of every bouquet and are a wonderful compliment to the east African roses."