This week, waxflower breeding company Helix Australia hosted a tour of its licensed growers in South Africa. Hosted by Adrian Parsons, the tour group included flower growers and industry representatives from Israel as well as Digby Growns, Senior Plant Breeder Kings Park & Botanic Gardens.
As well as witnessing the large range of registered Helix varieties currently in flower, the purpose of the trip was to also showcase to Israeli growers the exciting pipeline of new Helix varieties currently being trialed in South Africa.
Hans Hettasch Arnelia Farms and Adrian Parsons Helix Australia
"The timing of our visit was perfect as we got to see a mix of early and mid-season waxflower varieties in bloom as well as get a strong feel for the growth habit and yield on our later season varieties," said Adrian Parsons, Managing Director, Helix Australia.
On the left: Assorted triploid hybrid waxflower blooms. On the right: Hans Hettasch Arnelia Farms with Waxflower Dawn Pearl
Parsons continued, "In addition, we have an extensive new variety trial program in place at Arnelia Farms, and many of these new hybrids were in flower showing bloom size of near 30mm, which is a direct result of their triploid chromosome structure."
The tour group visited 3 waxflower farms, 1 protea farm, 2 Capetown flower exporters, a winery in Stellenbosch, and a large citrus packing facility in Citrusdal.
Digby Growns said the scope and professionalism of the South African waxflower industry are amazing. "We are very excited to continue working closely with Helix Australia and the South Africa growers on the growing and marketing of elite Kings Park waxflower hybrids," said Growns.
Omer Kessler, Farm Manager Saidi Ronen, was very impressed with the new waxflower varieties, their growing, sorting, working conditions, and professionalism of the South African growers. "I learned a lot of new growing techniques from the South African growers, and I am very excited to see many new Helix hybrid waxflowers which will suit the opposite flowering season in Israel," said Kessler
Lihi Salpeter-Danzinger, Director of Blooms Floral Imports, was amazed and the scale and professionalism of the South African growers and enjoyed seeing the new Helix wax varieties flowering in the fields. "I truly believe this tour will help our company increase new Helix waxflower plantings in Israel, which we will export to Europe and our global client base," said Salpeter-Danzinger.
Bertu Nieuwoudt Flora United Farms
Given the success of the tour, Helix Australia plans to run this tour on an annual basis. "Israeli waxflower growers are advised to mark their diaries for Week 33, 2023, when the next tour will commence," said Parsons.