"People repeatedly ask me why the name 'Viking Roses?' Well, we come in with our sailing ships, beards, helmets, and swords and then take home all the pretty women… No, I'm kidding," John Pouw continues, "our varieties are tough on the outside but warm-hearted on the inside."

Breeder Rosa Eskelund at the IFTF holding one of the Viking Roses.

How it started
When John teamed up with the Danish breeders Rosa and Harley Eskelund of Roses Forever, very successful in pot and garden roses (with the brands 'Forever', 'Infinity,' 'Plant'n'Relax'), he found a 10-year-inventory of potential cut roses, waiting for further testing. In her breeding, Rosa had developed her own genetic pool without a drop of cut rose blood. He set up trials with commercial growers in The Netherlands, Kenya, and Ecuador inside greenhouses and open-air in Denmark and The Netherlands. Results: great colors and nostalgic shapes, good vase life, amazing disease resistance (hence the name 'Viking Roses'), but loss of length at higher altitudes. Four varieties came out of this first generation: Firecracker, Rosa Loves Me Just a Little Bit More, Rosa Loves Me Two Times, and Rosa Loves Me Inger Kristine.


Rosa then set herself the challenge of maintaining the colors, shapes, and resistance but adding stem length. Result: Rosa Loves Me with Fatal Attraction and Rosa Loves Me I Am Grateful are now also available for florists, and Rosa Loves Me with Champagne Delight, and Rosa Loves Me Yes, I Do are presently introduced.

Inger Kristine, with Rosa Loves Me Inger Kristine (Grown in Kenya)

Keep it exclusive
According to John, it is important to keep Rosa's 'garden type' cut roses exclusive, and they have, therefore, never tried to flood the market with the varieties. "We started with a single grower in South America, and in Africa, we started with one in Ethiopia. Over the years, the number of growers growing this line increased slowly. Now, quite some growers in South America and Kenya are growing and trialing the varieties."

Rosa Loves Me Just a Little Bit More, and Rosa Loves Me Two Times

Covid proved instrumental
During the pandemic, Rosa couldn't travel and spent her days in the breeding and selection house. Now, a third generation of Vikings has started their pre-commercial phase with producers in Africa and Latin America.

RosaLoves Me Yes, I Do

Sailing on a new crusade
Time for Rosa to slow down or even retire? "No way," she reacts, showing her Sicilian roots in her eyes, "For years, I have been sailing on a new crusade: fragrance and vase life. Roses must be colorful, resistant, last for two weeks, and have scent!" For a Viking, there is no mission impossible.

Rosa Loves Me with Fatal Attraction

Eager to see the Viking Roses in real life and meet the Viking Roses team? At the IFTF in Vijfhuizen, the Netherlands, which will take place from November 9-11, they will be showcasing their varieties at the Roses Forever booth, number B2.24.

Rosa Loves Me I Am Grateful, and Rosa Loves Me with Champagne Delight 

Click here to see the catalog. 

For more information:
Viking Roses
John Pouw