Since the introduction of their garden-type roses, sales worldwide have been increasing year after year. "Especially in Japan, where the growth has been huge”, says Ivan Freeman of Kenyan flower farm Uhuru Flowers when talking about the Wabara branded roses. In Africa, he has the exclusive right to grow these garden-type roses with unusual shapes and scents which are bred by Japanese breeder and grower Rose Farm Keiji. For about four years now, Uhuru has been growing Wabara roses.
The Wabara branded roses are being grown in four countries – the USA, UK, Colombia, and Kenya, where four specially selected growers have the exclusive right to grow these flowers in their country or continent. Uhuru Flowers, the selected farm in Africa, grows the Wabara branded roses on 0.8 ha in their 20 ha greenhouse at an altitude of 2,600 m above sea level in Timau, Kenya.
Miyabi – Bestseller
At Uhuru Flowers, 4 spray and 4 standard varieties are currently being grown. According to Freeman, Miyabi is their best seller. “She is a strong rose with an extraordinary petal shape. Mainly, this is one of the most reliable, long-lasting varieties”, he says. “What many people don’t know”, he continues, “is that she also has a sister, Miyabi Cha, which has the same beautiful shape but in a much paler, milky tea color mixed with pink.”
On the left: Miyabi, on the right: Miyabi Cha.
Demand increasing slowly, but huge in Japan
Over the years, the demand grew slowly, but according to Ivan, growth has been huge in Japan. “This is perhaps due to a lack of targeted marketing of the brand, instead it has grown more organically in other countries.”
COVID slowed down growth
Despite the yearly growth in numbers of orders, last year has been a bit slow compared to the rest of their assortment, explains Ivan. “Wabara are very much event flowers and with the reduced numbers of weddings and events due to covid there were lower sales of these more expensive kinds of flowers.”
The potential to increase numbers is huge, says Freeman. “From our perspective, demand for cut roses has grown as a result of the pandemic and people spending more time in their homes. We hope that this trend continues and we can seek out more beautiful and unique varieties to delight our customers around the world”, he says. “On top of that, once a florist has worked with Wabara, chances are they will want to order them again as they are such unique and beautiful roses. We are slowly introducing the brand to more and more florists in different countries. And in the countries where we just introduced them, we see a growth in demand.”