Hibiscus demand in the last years has increased stably. However, the high heating costs are becoming a bottleneck for the growers of this crop. In turn, it is also becoming a challenge for breeders like Diem. Fortunately, the nurseries with alternative heating fuels continue production. "We already have a part of the order already for 2023," explained Alexandro Bock, owner of Diem Srl. He breeds and grows young and finished plants in Italy and supplies his varieties all over the world. And during these years, they focus their energy on their breeding program.
High energy costs
Like many growers, hibiscus growers also face high energy costs, leading to drastic decisions. "Many nurseries decided to stop the heating system due to the high energy costs." However, and fortunately, there are still nurseries that are not affected that much by these high heating costs. "The nurseries that are organized with alternative heating fuels, like biomass, will not decrease the heated production, and they will continue to produce hibiscus," he says. And they already placed their orders for 2023.
Focus on breeding
During these years, Diem focused their energy on the breeding program. They researched new varieties, such as strong and full plants, plants that make a lot of volume and ramification, flowers that stay open more than one day to four days, and plants that are easy to grow: less growing regulators, suitable to be cultivated from smaller pot to big pot size.
Diem grouped the varieties in different lines:
- The baseline D-Tahiti® is the standard line, with strong and vivid colors, plants that can be cultivated from a 13 cm pot to a 30 cm pot. The plants make a lot of branches, and they don't need too much growing regulator, he explains. "Together with the D-TAHITI® line, we have the D-Tahiti Double®: double flower. It is not a big market, but we have some countries that ask for more double flowers."
- D-Tahiti Plus® is a new line, where all the varieties in this line are similar in growing and flowering. Suitable for pot size from 14 cm till 30 cm pot, strong big-sized colored florets.
- D-Tahiti Midi®: "Till some years ago the trend was big size flower, although is not the perfect match. Some customers started to ask for MIDI flowers," he explains. Plants can be cultivated in a 10 - 12 cm pot to a 17 cm pot. "The flower size is medium, but they make a lot of flowers at the same time."
- D-Magnus® means big, and the flowers of this line are very big: more than 20 cm, many flowers open at the same time, and a very particular color. "The plants are easy to grow, and they don't need so many growing regulators. "They make a lot of branches, and they can be put in the garden to give the final customer a lot of flowers all the summertime," Alexandro added.
All the varieties that have been put in all the lines have been bred with research on the volume of the plants and the branch's production of the plants in mind. "That was and will be the base concept of our genetic, on strong and vivid color and on the easy to grow the concept. And all the new varieties are protected with a license to give an extra value to the customers."
More genetic research
Diem is considering more genetic research, which means that the varieties they select have to be more resistant to pests. The company cultivates 90 % without chemicals sprays, uses beneficial insects in the nursery to respect nature, and employs all the mother plants are cultivated inside the nursery to control the quality of the material Diem will supply to their customers.