Florist Holland set to wow the crowds at California Spring Trials

21 February 2012

Instead of participating under the flag of one of its distributors, Dutch Gerbera breeder and propagator Florist Holland, has decided to present themselves at the California Spring Trials as an independent company with its own strong brand name. The Florist show will feature the company’s impressive range of potted Gerberas such as Flori Line, Patio Gerbera and Garvinea.


 

Writing this article in the wake of the New Year celebrations I asked Niels Kuiper, sales manager in the  Netherlands and the United States, about last year’s results. “It has been a good year in which we gained a stronger market position in gerbera cut flowers worldwide. Additionally, we’ve added a whole range of new products in our potted plant segment. Overall, the market has become smaller. European growers face high energy costs and smaller family run businesses are often forced to close down. In the US, we were able to expand our market share in potted plants while on the domestic market we strengthened our position in cut gerberas.”

Cut Gerbera

Cut Gerbera Florist is on a continuous quest for new business opportunities which reflect on its innovative products. “In cut flowers, we have launched a truly improved white variety, ‘Iceberg’ with a black centre, while ‘Don Leo’ in vivid yellow and black centre raises a particular interest on the side of the Russian consumer. The red ‘Dark Diamond’ is also a real improvement on the existing assortment. Gerbera breeding is an ongoing effort that never stops,” stressed Niels. He added, “Bud presentation, pest and disease resistance, heat tolerance, produce storage and shipment capabilities, evenness of maturity and especially crop yields are desirable commercial production characteristics which can always be improved. In standard gerberas, most modern cultivars yield 340 to 380 premium quality flowers in a state of the art greenhouse operation, while a few years ago yields were around 260 flowers/m2.” How are the Dutch gerbera growers doing? “Pretty well, I should say. The 2011 summer has been tough with more supply than demand but as of November prices went up. The Netherlands is mostly about mini gerberas and this year there has been a real positive change in Dutch standard gerbera production. We find ourselves at a turning point with more balance between demand and supply. Over the years the production area of standard gerbera has continued to decrease. It now looks as if it will stabilise.” In uncertain times, with one economic crisis following another, growers tend to avoid any kind of risk by sticking to the primary colours and ordering smaller amounts of different varieties. “One of the cut gerbera nurseries in the Netherlands for example, operates from a 3 ha site growing no less than 30 varieties”, explained Niels.

Potted Gerbera

Originally Florist mainly focused on cut flowers. Over the last few decades pot plants have become an important product line as well with export sales of pot gerberas to the Unites States steadily increasing.The California Spring Trials, which will be held from March 24 to 29, offers the company the ideal platform to showcase its groundbreaking product developments in pot gerberas which encompasses three lines: Flori Line, Patio Gerbera and Garvinea. Trial-goers are invited to see the latest additions to Flori Line, including the indoor seed-raised pot Gerbera which has a fast crop time of 8 to 11 weeks, depending on the environmental conditions and cultural regimes. It features a uniform and compact growth habit and a wide range of colours available in the Maxi, Midi, Mini and Micro flowered series. In addition to the primary colours, this line of potted gerberas, in 6 to 13 cm pots (2.5 to 6 inch pots) include some spectacular two toned Eyecatcher and Fireball varieties. Addressing the increasing interest for trolley deals of mixed varieties, are the themed Mother’s Day, Valentine’s Day, Easter, Barbecue and Christmas mixes for seasonal selling. Large blooms are the unique selling point of Florist’s vegetative line of Patio Gerbera with 3 new varieties, which will be showcased during the forthcoming California Spring Trials. True to tradition, all three of them have been named after famous national parks in the US: ‘Great Smokey Mountains’ (vivid orange), ‘Zion’ (cream) and the redcoloured ‘Olympic’.

Garvinea

Also in the limelight during the California Spring Trial will be the cool crop Garvinea®, the colourful line of perennial gerberas featuring masses of flowers from early spring to the first frost. The Garvinea, a completely new product for growers, buyers and traders alike, is set to revolutionise the garden plant market “Florist’s focus is on taking gerbera beauty back to its natural roots using botanic species for cross breeding. The outcome is a superb lower in all respects, with growers benefitting from double yields and an easy-to-grow crop which is highly resistant to snails, powdery mildew and white fly. As perennial plant, Garvinea is grown in a greenhouse environment during the first 6 weeks and eventually hardened off in the open field. Crop time varies from 12 to 16 weeks, starting from rooted liners.” Over the last months, the Garvinea line has been extended to include 24 colours, including varieties with medium-sized blooms such as the red ‘Rachel’and five new colours and flower shapes, starring ‘Sleeping Beauty’ and the spider type ‘Catherine’. “In Europe, demand for these specialty garden gerberas has been triggered following stunning garden displays at the world famous spring garden - Keukenhof. This year Garvineas can also be admired in all their splendour at the forthcoming international horticultural exposition, Floriade.” Gerbera showcase From Flori Line to Garvinea, Florist will have it all covered at the California Spring Trials. At Grolink, a company known for its unusual tropical annuals and garden mums, Dutch flower designer Peter van der Sluis will create a stunning display of potted gerbera featuring a lavishly decorated veranda and border garden. According to Niels, the trials have emerged as a very powerful way to promote Florist product ranges. “In the USA, you have two important shows. The OFA Short Course and the California Spring Trials. The event will attract key decision makers and professionals from across the American ornamental plant industry and will be an ideal networking opportunity for those who are interested in the respective fields. The news for this year is that we’ll be participating as an independent company. By exhibiting under our own name, we want to raise the company’s brand awareness in the USA. Last year, we changed our name to Florist Holland. One thing we are particularly proud of is our 40 years of experience in breeding and propagation of gerbera cut flowers and pot plants along with our global network of distributors in more than 100 countries. Regarding the US market, our products our available through our distributors Express Seed Company, Flamingo Holland Inc. and Northern Innovators. Teaming up with these three leading companies allows us to cover the entire North American market.”

The California Spring Trials at Florist Holland will run from March 24-29 Venue: Grolink, 4107 W Gonzales Rd, Oxnard, USA.

Source: FloraCultureInternational, February 2012
by Ron van der Ploeg