After a break of 10 years, one of Benchmark Growers' farms - Casablanca Farm - started to grow mini gerberas again on about 1ha. They harvested the first flowers in week 45. Now, their assortment consist of 11 varieties - with chrysanthemums and summer flowers as their main crop, grown on 22ha in Chia, Colombia.
Katherine Torres between the chrysanthemums, their main crop.
10 years ago, Casablanca grew gerberas, but why did they stop? "The gerbera was one of the many crops we produced, but it is very susceptible to diseases and has a weak vase life after shipments in mix bouquets. The mini gerberas, on the other hand, are proven to be more tolerant, so that is the main reason to re-start. On top of that, the market is asking for it", says Katherine Torres, Director of production at Casablanca.
The area where gerbera plants are being grown
Starting up production
In the second half of 2019, they started filling the greenhouse with gerbera plants. "The plants come from several large gerbera breeders. The crop is hydroponic and we use home made substrates with Colombian coco peat and coco chips mixed with rice hules and coal. I am not sure if other Colombian growers work with the same model; pot and soilless."
Including the gerberas, Casablanca's assortment will increase to 11 varieties. The chrysanthemum and summer flowers are the main crops, grown on 22ha. Casablanca is one of the main farms supplying Riofrio - the main bouquet making facility of the Queens Bouquet Network - and are sold under the brand name of Benchmark Growers, Florexpo and The Queen's Flowers - exporting more than 100 millions of stems on mix bouquets every year.
Benchmark Growers is a brand used in the USA as well being the company in charge of distribution for all countries with the exception of USA and Canada, their main markets.
For more information
The Queen's Flowers