"Due to the temperatures that are still above average, the demand for cyclamen is low in almost every country," says Héloïse Morel of French cyclamen breeding company Morel Diffusion. And despite the current rising costs and overall economic uncertainty, she expects demand to increase soon as temperatures will go down and new varieties will enter the market. Over the last 100+ years of the company's existence, they've seen the industry go up and down, and over the last few years, they have seen a stable demand, with a rise at a slower pace for plants cultivated in greenhouses, with the switch from maxi to minis/midis in Europe. "The product stays among some of the key plants in a flowering potted plant assortment for retailers."
Current low demand from end consumer
"Current demand is low since the temperatures are still above average, along with interdictions of watering in some countries, like in France, which is not encouraging the renewal of spring plantations," she explains.
"Some rain and cooler temperatures hopefully can change this factor and generate an increase in the demand, but the current rising energy costs and overall economic uncertainty could lead to lowering the enthusiasm towards plants in general, and thus to less sales."
Demand expected to increase
According to Morel, demand for cyclamen will see an increase, thanks to all the breeding companies who make a great effort in bringing new varieties on the market. "Requests from growers have been stable over the last few years, with a rise at a slower pace for plants cultivated in greenhouses, with the switch from maxi to minis/midis in Europe. This crop remains a flagship product among plants in a flowering potted plant assortment," she continues. "Also, one must not forget that plants also help against global warming, and the art of gardening speaks of wellbeing, an increased self-esteem, shared joy among families and friends, and can help to find personal balance in life."
Morel's greatest achievement over the last 100 years
Morel's cyclamen are known for their intrinsic robustness due to a natural selection of the Mediterranean climate and research programs of the breeder team, which make the cyclamen highly resistant to heat. (Click here for the heat tolerance).
According to Morel, it is thanks to its breeders that the company has achieved results that have lasted in the long run. So what are the company's greatest achievements over the last 100 years, and how did they do it? First of all, they introduced over 300 varieties of F1 hybrid cyclamen, have the main collection of Cyclamen persicum Hybrid F1 in France, and received recognition from the French Ministry of Agriculture (2001) and from the CCVS (Conservatory of Specialized Plant Collections).
In order to achieve it, team, customers, vision, and of course, their product are key. "We have maintained respectful and long-term cooperation with customers for over 30 years and have a loyal and dedicated team of workers. On top of that, seeds are produced 100% entirely in France, and the company is environmentally friendly with a focus on water management, energy restrictions (both greenhouses and offices), recycling material, waste management, and biological control and prevention to avoid pesticides. Also, we have preserved the gene pool, which is a real living heritage. We create and produce healthy parental lines and optimize the quality and quantity of harvested seeds sold worldwide with the least amount of chemicals."
"At Morel, we are constantly searching for prophylaxis methods, she adds. "These methods consist in preventing the potential threats on the crops (attacks from pests, fungi or bacteria) thanks to the tracking of the populations and of their development conditions."
How the company has evolved over the years
This year, in the wake of the changes brought by Evolem, the French group that acquired Morel, the company now has a CSR (Corporate Social Responsibility) approach that includes a broader outlook on environmental, social, and governance issues.
Most of Morel's products are distributed in Europe but also reach the USA, China, and Japan. "Our sales have increased with technicians based all over Europe and soon the arrival of a new technician dedicated to cover America provide technical guidance (watering, temperature, humidity, light, fertilizer) to our customers during the season, and this direct and close relationship is very important, and part of our values determined by quality and fidelity. We have very long-term relationships with some of our customers," explains Morel.
Over the last ten years, Morel has programmed crops and sales periods, partnered with distributors for marketing activities, and increased mutual profit for each actor of the chain. "We are focused on the communication field now more than ever. We are present on social media handles like Facebook, Instagram, Linkedin, and this year we have launched a new press campaign for one of our top varieties, 'Indiaka, share the joy!'," explains Morel.
Indiaka® is a very unique variety, and we were the first in Europe to create these bicolor petals (two tones petals) with its inauguration in 2018. It has a promising future with a good shelf-life and outdoor performance yet to be discovered by the public."
The Indiaka video campaign and click here for the catalog.
"Another very special variety, part of 22-23 novelties, is Absolu de Morel®. Absolu de Morel is a 100% cyclamen true to type Victoria, with great fragrance (a mix of citrus and lily of the valley) and is also the most innovative." (Click here for the varieties catalog)
"We will keep researching to bring more innovation and diversity to the flower market," concludes Morel.
Eager to see the varieties in real life? Their Morel Trials will take place from 25-28 October and from 1-4 November in the Netherlands and from 7-11 November and 14-18 November in France.