Calvine Emadau, Karen Roses, on Bellalinda Cerise

“Patience paid off with this rose variety”

It took a long time to develop Bellalinda Cerise into a full commercial growing area since the budwood was limited owing to the slow growth of the plant. Market uptake was also slow as a result but patience paid off when the consumers discovered the true beauty of the flower, says Calvine Emadau, Commercial Manager at Karen Roses, when talking about Bellalinda Cerise. This Kenyan rose farm started growing this variety of Continental Breeding commercially since 2020 and the demand has been increasing ever since, particularly in the luxury field, he explains.

First farm growing roses under steel greenhouses
But before talking about Cerise, first a bit more background information on Karen Roses Limited which opened its doors to commercial cut flower farming in 1989. “It was the first farm in Kenya to grow roses under steel greenhouses. It is is a family owned but professionally run company which proudly owns 6 farms located in two counties with over 90 ha in production. The first farm is located in Kenya’s capital Nairobi and 5 in Eldama Ravine, Baringo Central County, a rural town approximately 200 km from Nairobi that lies on the Equator at approximately 2,100 meters above sea level. Growing with professionals to become highly skilled in growing flowers is the journey we have been on since 1989. Every flower in our gardens goes through meticulous selection processes to ensure we are always growing the best that meets our absolute customers taste and preferences.”

They work closely with their partners from breeding to come up with pre-selections of varieties. “These are then brought to our dedicated 0.5 ha trial house where we grow them and test their adaptability to our environment.”

Their primary crop is the standard rose with 70ha in production, out of the total area of 90ha, with over 40 commercial varieties. The other main crop is the spray rose with over 60 commercial varieties. “All of them are top premium selections.” New in their portfolio is a full color range of Alstroemeria, special greeneries in Lepidium and Hard Ruscus, colorful garden colored plants in Limonium and Eryngium, rustic feel additions to the bouquets in Photinia and finally a classy finish in Solidago and Gerbras.”

Bellalinda Cerise: “Patience paid off”
So, let’s go back to Bellalinda Cerise. How did it all started? At Karen Roses, they have had Bellalinda Cerise since 2017/2018 but on trial basis only. Then, in the COVID-19 period in 2020 this variety came into the forefront as a garden spray of choice for their customers in the luxury field. According to Emadau, it took a long time to develop Bellalinda Cerise into a full commercial growing area. “The budwood was limited owing to the slow growth of the plant. Therefore market uptake was also slow. But patience paid off when the consumers discovered the true beauty of the flower. Its rich in color and available in longer lengths than regular sprays and that is what our consumers value. And for us as a grower, this variety stands out as a very strong variety in its category and very hard to beat. It's very resilient to plague and diseases and hardy in growing, a characteristic that keeps pests and diseases away. In the vase it is equally dominant and gives consumers maximum value for their spend, completely justifying its price. We believe it’s the most rewarding variety in the vase in addition to adding a strong but welcoming color to our customer’s spaces.” Currently, they grow Bellalinda Cerise on an area of 0.5+ha.

Growing demand
They mostly sell their flowers direct, but they maintain some presence at the auction, and ship them all over the world. They promoted the variety in the market by joint marketing from the breeder and also directly by themselves within the markets they are active in. Later it grew through active referencing, Emadau explains. So how does the demand usually develop for these type of roses? “It is strong and market specific. Such selections are first demanded mainly in the Far East regions and recently demand and popularity is growing to the other spray rose consuming regions, especially among luxury lines.”

Eager to expand with this variety? “We listen to our customers and when they want more, we give them. This has been the trend of growth for Bellalinda Cerise with us and we foresee this continuing into the coming years.” And when looking at the future, Emadau foresees a bright future. “It is a variety that is hard to replace it so I expect it to be a variety of choice for a long time.”

For more information:
Karen Roses
Calvine Emadau
Tel: +254(0)727273549
S: calvine.emadau 

Continental Breeding
Juan Damian Requena

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