by Monica Humbard
Breeders showcase the new varieties that rose to the top of the crop in 2008.
Few can deny the beauty of a rose. But to truly appreciate this remarkable flower, you only need to learn how many years it takes for each variety to enter the market. John Dolan, who is president of Dolan International Inc. and recently retired as general agent for breeder E.G. Hill Co. Inc., says it takes seven to 10 years from the time an idea for a cross between two roses emerges to the time the variety hits the market.
“Hills has been in the business of hybridizing for over 100 years,” says Mr. Dolan. “Statistically, our records show that our odds of getting a successful variety to market are 1 in 300,000. That is, we look at 300,000 seedlings for every one that is introduced.”
Mr. Dolan, who has been in the floral industry for 35 years, explains that part of the success of a variety depends on what the market likes. In North America, he says, the market prefers large flowers with buds at least 5 cm high and stems at least 60 cm long.
The success of a variety also depends on the production areas and what kind of production systems the growers use. For example, Mr. Dolan says a variety that will do well in the tropics at high elevations (South America or Africa) will not grow well in Holland, Germany or the United States. “All breeders know the production areas around the world and their markets and breed for these standards,” Mr. Dolan says. “They have test houses in all the flower-growing areas of the world and test how the seedlings grow in the areas.”
When it comes to how many plants are needed to put a rose into the market, Mr. Dolan says opinions vary. He explains that a “niche marketer” may do nicely with 1,000 plants of a particular variety that grows well in Holland but not in Colombia or Ecuador. However, as a breeder, he says that in order to afford the protection that ensures plant breeders’ rights and trademark enforcement, he would rather see a potential of 50,000 plants in a country.
About a dozen rose breeders throughout the world hybridize or “own” cut rose varieties, according to Mr. Dolan, and all use similar techniques to “invent” new roses. On these pages, check out some of the new varieties of hybrid tea roses that were introduced this year and are available now.
To see all the new varieties plus the roses for fall occasions, click on this link.
Reach Contributing Editor Monica Humbard at (800) 355-8086.
|| rose care for long life
1 Be choosy: Buy from a reputable supplier that has maintained cold temperatures through shipping and storage.
2 Study varieties: Choose those that you know will open and last for consumers.
3 Keep it cold: Adjust your cooler temperature to between 33 F and 35 F before the roses arrive, and after the roses are inside, monitor the cooler temperature twice daily to ensure it stays at this level.
4 Clean thoroughly: Make sure all buckets, cutting tools and cutting areas are cleaned with an antibacterial cleaner before processing roses and in between uses.
5 Watch for problems: Inspect roses immediately after they arrive in your department, watching for Botrytis, yellowed leaves, and loss of flowers or leaves.
6 Process with care: After inspection, recut the flower stems, removing at least 2 to 3 inches from the stem ends, and place the stems immediately into a hydration solution (to enhance water uptake) followed by a properly mixed flower food (to enhance flower opening, extend vase life and reduce bent neck).
7 Condition flowers: Place roses immediately into the floral cooler, between 33 F and 35 F and 90 percent humidity, for at least two hours before designing with or selling them.
8 Educate consumers: Give customers flower-food sachets with each bouquet or arrangement you sell, and instruct them to change the vase water and recut the stems every two or three days.