Kalanchoe growers prepping for Easter: "Timing is key"

Easter may feel far away, but for kalanchoe growers it is not. Yellow is the main color and usually makes up for up to 60 percent of their entire production that is sold during the weeks up until the actual holiday. Due to COVID-19, growers have had some difficulties to sell what has been produced for the holiday last Easter, but for Easter 2021 which falls on April 4 that year, hopes are high. This is explained by Frederike Hössermann Commercial Manager at Danish breeding company Queen Genetics.

Kalanchoe - different holiday, different colors 
Kalanchoe is a plant that is sold all year. However, consumers show a higher demand for different colors for different holiday seasons, explains Hössermann. "White and red are colors for Christmas, orange for Halloween, pink and red for Mother’s day and bright yellow and white for the Easter season." For breeders and growers this means that the demand for yellow during this latter mentioned season is particularly high. "It can make up to 60% of the entire production sold during the weeks up until the actual holiday. "

Easter - long sales season
Easter is an important holiday due to the fact that the sales season is comparably long, explains Hössermann. "People start to set up their homes way before the actual holiday and resulting in a high demand for specific products for a certain period of time. Easter is an important holiday in the western world, where the Christian religion is predominant. However, we are also seeing other peak seasons for yellow varieties especially in Asia where yellow is an important color for Chinese New Year or Tết, the Vietnamese New Year."

Queen® Kalanchoes being grown in the greenhouse

Timing is key
For Easter, there is a high demand for yellow. However, after this holiday, there is a sharp color shift. "The demand for yellow decreases significantly, so timing of the production is key. With an average production time of 16 weeks the result is that the propagation and production needs to be on point to be able to supply quality on time along the entire supply chain from cutting to finished product. This might be relatively easy to manage in a chocolate factory but when dealing with living plant that are influenced by unpredictable external factors like the weather the story gets a little more complicated." Another factor influencing supply and demand she mentions is that the date for Easter changes each year. "Sometimes, it changes by several weeks, therefore systems and planning need to be aligned and adjusted each year."

Testing the varieties
In order to time the production correctly, it is essential that the grower is familiar with the varieties he's growing. And for the breeder, it is important to advise the grower on the best varieties to grow. "The varieties need to be selected and tested in production volumes and different climates in order to ensure that they can be grown in a predictable, high quality under different external conditions in different regions of the world."

Click here for the Queen® Genetics Yellow 2021 assortment

Easter assortment
"Kalanchoe is a fantastic product in that regard since the product is inexpensive, available in all colors all year and therefore can be matched to every season. Even though it is technically the same product, color changes allow the consumer to set different highlights throughout the year."

Easter is an important holiday for growers, so an important holiday for breeders too. Over the years, Queen Genetics has built up an Easter assortment and the Yellow (Easter) 2021 assortment consists of ten varieties. For all their varieties, Queen Genetics focuses on breeding compact, ethylene resistant plants that can be propagated and grown as naturally as possible. "This complies with strict governmental regulations and a shift in consumer demand towards sustainable, more and more eco friendly products." Another advantage for all links in the chain is the robustness and ethylene resistance of the Queen Kalanchoe varieties, she says. "As a result, consumers are rewarded with easy care plants that last for a minimum of six weeks after purchase, significantly longer than almost any other flowering houseplant."

Queen® Kalanchoes in the greenhouse

Looking back and to the coming season
Easter sales are part of the spring season where volumes and prices are generally high. However this year has been a little different, as it has been in so many ways, Hössermann says. "Due to the Covid-19 related lock down in almost all areas of the world, high uncertainty and consumers that were hesitant to leave their homes growers have had some difficulties to sell what has been produced for the holiday."

However this situation has been unique and they do not expect the same to happen again next year. "On the contrary, we have actually seen high demand and good prices for Kalanchoe since the lockdown has been gradually lifted. Consumers are spending more time at home and consequently also more money on interior design and houseplants, to make their home more enjoyable."

For more information
Queen® Genetics 
Email: youngplants@queen.dk
Knud Jepsen
Skanderborgvej 193
DK-8382 Hinnerup

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