"A new variety like this one brings back a smile on a grower's face in these challenging times", says Sachin Appachu of Bliss Flora Ltd. After 3 years of trialing this new dark orange colored variety with a special touch from French breeder Meilland. This variety Fiorella was recently introduced commercially to the market, and they are overwhelmed with the positive response. "We went against the usual and it turned out to be a success. I am glad that I am part of this big variety".

Jean Dyens, Sachin Appachu and Bruno Etavard at the farm of Bliss Flora.

Challenging start-up
Bliss Flora started doing trials with Meilland roses in 2016. "We've known Jean Dyens for many years, and he was very confident about this variety. We therefore gave it a go. The color was stunning -  orange with dark 'burned-like' edges, the growing was not easy, it was predominantly producing short length mainly 40 and 50 centimeters. But Dyens was so confident about this variety that he asked us to continue the trials. We therefore placed it in another greenhouse and started with different growing practices and we saw a big positive change. The flowers started to look nice and they also got good length. Then, the flowers started to look nice and the flowers started to get length. We showed it to several who visited our greenhouse and the reactions gave us confidence as well." After 2.5 years of trialing, Bliss Flora asked exclusivity for Fiorella. "We will have it exclusive for several years for several hectares."

Close-up of Fiorella

Against the usual
In addition to the color, this new variety goes against the usual on more aspects. "Particularly over the last years, we see that many growers are selecting straight color varieties that mainly sell well in the direct market and just a bit in the auction. We decided to do it the other way around and select a variety that will mainly sell on the auction, but can be partly sold on the direct market as well. On top of that, it's usually expected from high-altitude farms like we are (2,400 meters above sea level) to produce big head roses. This variety, however, has a medium head size, but when hearing the feedback, we see that the color makes such an impression that the head size isn't that important anymore - some even say that this variety does not even need the longer stem length from a market viewpoint." 

Matthias Meilland and Jean Dyens with Fiorella at the IFTF 2019 in Vijfhuizen, the Netherlands

Not flooding the market
October 2019, the variety has been introduced at the auction, and Sachin is pleased with the prices and reactions. "The prices are satisfying and - equally important - are holding on. The reactions we get are very positive and demand is increasing." However, quickly increasing the production to meet the demand isn't the way Appachu wants to go. "We do not want to flood the market with a variety that will only do well for a few years. We want to have long-term steady prices from it. Slowly but steadily increase the production when we see it's necessary. Let's first await Christmas and Valentine's Day sales. Then, we can decide how to continue." Currently, 1.9 ha is planted with Fiorella and 1 ha is in production, producing 3,000 stems.

Growing well in the rain
Currently, Kenya has been experiencing heavy rains. Due to the high humidity, lots of crops are affected, but according to Appachu, Fiorella is doing very well. "Under these trying conditions, it is good to have a variety that performs well under these circumstances."

For more information
Bliss Flora Ltd
Sachin Appachu
Email: appachu7@yahoo.com