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Daniel Maldonado, Agromonte:

"As far as we know, we are the only farm growing lisianthus on a regular basis in Colombia"

Colombian carnation and spray carnation grower Agromonte started trialing lisianthus five years ago. Since 2022, they have been exporting them on a regular basis, mainly to the US but also to the UK and Korea. "As far as we know, we are the first growing this crop in Colombia, and the demand is pleasing," says Daniel Maldonado, general manager of Agromonte. Currently, they are growing three varieties, and a fourth will be added soon.

Daniel Maldonado at Proflora 2023 in Bogota, Colombia.

Why lisianthus?
Agromonte has been in the flower business for almost 40 years, growing 2,000,000 stems of standard carnations and 500,000 stems of spray carnations per month. In 2018, they started trialing lisianthus, but why this crop? According to Maldonado, the reason for growing lisianthus is multifold. "Lisianthus is a very beautiful flower with a lot of different forms and colors and, in general, with a great vase life. In Colombia, there have been some trials, but it is very difficult to grow, so we knew it was going to be challenging, and producing it would bring a lot of learning for Agromonte and a very nice opportunity to give our clients a beautiful product that is not easy to find."

Growing this crop is not an easy task, Maldonado tells us. "It entails a lot of challenges. One was to select the correct variety, and so we have done (and continue doing) many trials of nice varieties that the suppliers are giving us to try. The production is completely different, and so we are doing it on another farm that is at 2,000 meters above sea level (which also implies a different business model). Lisianthus is a very sensible plant, and we have been doing a lot of learning and investigation; we changed the media, the irrigation, special fumigation, and a lot of ventilation. Fortunately, we have had a lot of help from other people in the production of lisianthus. We were invited to visit and learn from some growers in Japan, and even a grower in Holland has given us a lot of advice."

Impression of Agromonte

Currently, they grow three varieties, and the fourth will be added soon. "We grow it from seed, and from the seed to the plant, it takes 17 weeks and from the plant to the flower another 18 weeks on average. And as we continue trialing new varieties, the assortment will be expanded in the future".

Expanding acreage
Also, in acreage, they are planning to expand. "At the beginning of 2023, we had 0.2 hectares, by the end of this year, we will have 0.5 hectares planted. We expect to go to 2 hectares eventually."

For more information:
Daniel Maldonado
Email: [email protected]