More than 100 plant growers participated in Selecta's traditional poinsettia tour yesterday. This time, the location was Emsflower, one of the biggest plant growers in Europe, and a big player in the poinsettia market. They grow 1.2 million of them in a wide range (around 80% of the poinsettia assortment is from Selecta).
Selecta could be called the king of poinsettias, and supplies to a large number of growers. The number of participants in the tour is about the same as that of previous editions - most of them are repeat guests. The Magic Stars tour provides a nice format for growers to meet, take a look at each other's operation and talk about cultivation, product range and market. People in the industry are open and willing to help each other, which also explains the success of the Magic Stars.
Left the Christmas Mouse, right the SkyStar
Led by account manager Ton de Bresser, the growers inspected the comparison trials, which also featured varieties from competitors, of course. It's also an excellent moment for Selecta to highlight the latest developments in the breeding programs.
As far as the eye can see...
For the outsider, the most striking varieties are undoubtedly the SkyStar and the Christmas Mouse (see photo above). One of the company's flagship products is the well-known NightSky petunia, whose brightly colored petals have bright white spots. This unusual affect seems to have been magically crossbred into the poinsettia. The Mouse, on the other hand, is special or even unique because of its round, rather than pointed, petals. "In retail, in particular, interest in such introductions is huge", Ton says.
Ton de Bresser talking about the trials
This year, Emsflower played host to the tour. The grower has seen a lot of expansion in recent years, and now grows potted and bedding plants as well as a range of tomato varieties on 87 hectares under glass. Annually, 300 million plants are grown, and great steps have been taken in terms of automation and sustainability. The main location is in Emsbüren, close to the border with the Netherlands, where lodging for the workers is under construction. (Labor was one of the major themes of the day.) There, the Kuiper family also have their own garden center, as well as an 'Erlebnispark' consisting of a tropical garden, butterfly garden, show greenhouse, playground and restaurant.
Christmas Beauty 'Lime' and 'Princess'
The poinsettia market is looking good, with plenty of product available in the market but not too much, Ton says. "There's a lot of demand for batches. The poinsettia has become a serious retail product, and usually, they already purchased a lot, while keeping part of it open. For instance, if there's a whitefly somewhere, they go to someone else. In that sense, there's a lot of movement."
Christmas Beauty 'Cinnamon' and 'Christmas Universa'
Next year, the Magic Stars tour will celebrate its tenth anniversary. The location will be announced later.