For nearly a year now, United Selections is trialing their varieties at Dutch rose grower J&K Rosa in Berkel en Rodenrijs, the Netherlands. Last week, they organized an open house event where different Dutch, as well as Belgian and German rose growers and traders visited the greenhouse to check out what's new or may enter the European market. Also FloralDaily was present to take a look at the varieties on display and received a guided tour from Peter Schrama, United Selections Sales Manager Europe and Koen Meewisse, the owner of the nursery.
Koen Meewisse and Peter Schrama.
Increasing the assortment for the European market
For almost 10 years, United Selections is breeding their roses 100% in Kenya. The varieties are selected in Nakuru, Kenya, but are not selected for the Kenyan rose growers only, but for growers in all countries over the world, mainly Ecuador, Colombia, Ethiopia, the Netherlands, but also China, Japan, South Korea and Zimbabwe among others. They are always looking to expand their assortment per market and altitude. Schrama, who works at United Selections for about 3 years now, is working hard on the expansion of the 'European varieties' assortment.
Jumilla is one of their latest varieties introduced for the Dutch market specifically which quickly gained a foothold in the market. This well-known novelty is now succeeded by Smashcake, which is currently being produced commercially, on a small scale, by Meewisse. But more are in the pipeline and are currently being trialed.
200 varieties trialed for 3 flushes
The first selection will be made at their greenhouse in Nakuru, Kenya. Then, 200 varieties are being shipped to Meewisse for further selection. "Three times a year, we will bring over a selection of around 200 varieties that we will trial for three flushes. We then select the best varieties of which we will scale up the production gradually."
Smashcake in the greenhouse
Head size, vase life and particularly productivity are main criteria for the selection of European varieties, Schrama explains. "In countries like the Netherlands, cultivation is highly capital intensive. Therefore, the production per square meter is very important." If a variety has it all, including an attractive appearance - so the right color or shape-, hopes are high. “During such an open day event, it is great to hear the different opinions, not only from the growers, but from the trade as well", Schrama adds.
At Meewisse, all kind of roses are planted; different colors, different shapes, fragrant varieties and so on. But what are the ones that attracting the most attention? According to Schrama, the market is always looking for something unique, so there is always a good interest for the 'in-between' colors, the 'different shaped' varieties as well as the fragrant varieties, however for this latter one of often mainly only stays with the interest.
Below some trial varieties that caught the eye of many.
This bi-colered rose is one of those varieties that is attracting a lot of attention. The bottom of the petals are lighter than the upper part of the petals.
Garden type roses are also still popular
An orange rose that is high in productivity, good shelf life and head size is hard to find, but this one might make a chance.
The high productivity of this caughts the eye of many visitors.
Special shapes like this are of interest as well.
And when talking about different shapes. This spray rose does not only has a different shape, it also has a green center. Meewisse just decided to start producing this variety commercially on a small scale.
Trail location at J&K Rosa
Since January 2020, United selections is trialing their varieties at J&K Rosa, who grows Avalanche on 2,9ha in his 3ha greenhouse. As the Avalanche plants are 11 years of age and therefore will decrease in production in a couple of years, he slowly started to exploring the new varieties on the market and got in touch with United Selections.
So far, he is pleased with the cooperation and is looking forward to harvest his first commercial crop from United Selections soon; Smashcake. And from the current trials, he is selecting more varieties to start producing on a small scale. Unlike the Avalanche Roses, that are sold at the FloraHolland auction, these new varieties will be sold directly only. “As the quantities are still low, I sell them directly only for a fixed price”, Meewisse says.