Red rose still stands out

    According to Interplant Roses, the red rose market is showing a growing demand for Explorer. The launch of Red Naomi! has kept people busy for a while now. The interest in red roses is continuous. It’s an important colour. There’s a large, international market for it and the assortment is growing. That makes it a bit easier for Dutch growers to choose. Although, choices are always difficult.

    Red is hot. Just to name a few of the many large-flowered red roses that were presented at IFTF 2016 in Vijfhuizen: Commodore, Love Story, Montana, Merci Cherie, Red Tower, Red Berry, Ever Red, Chili Pepper, Undercover, Finally, Red Torch, Madam Red, Mayra’s Rose Red, Pascal!.

    “At IPM in Essen, we’ll just show the varieties that are interesting for European rose growers. These include some interesting red cultivars that haven’t been named yet”, says Hartmut Pein of German breeding company Rosen-Tantau. Peter Schrama of breeding company Olij adds: “Our red Gladiator has been planted extensively in Eastern Europe. There’s a fair amount on the way to the Netherlands. Red rose has the largest market, especially in the Netherlands.”

    Red Naomi!
    The variety that’s currently grown the most in the Netherlands is Red Naomi! (see Dutch red roses). A total of 85 ha in 2016. Aleia Roses in Spain planted another 14 hectares the same year, which led to some unrest among Dutch growers. How would such an expansion impact price formations and could it be that there wasn’t actually any more room on the market? Furthermore, there are hardly any other large-flowered red roses available for Dutch greenhouses.

    Breeders seem to focus more on other countries. That’s where the growth is. Rose crops are decreasing in the Netherlands and crop replacement has been delayed for years now. But lately, the economy has picked up. Several growers are putting their plans on the table again. When almost 10 ha of Red Naomi! was cleared last year, this created some space on the market. Talks between growers and breeder Schreurs with regards to new plantings, got a positive impulse.

    Remco van der Arend and Richard van der Lans of Arend Roses were looking for an alternative to Red Naomi!. Around 2013, they found a cultivar of breeder Kordes, which was eventually named Red Eagle. Remco van der Arend: “It stood out because of its unique, bright red colour and its long bud. A valuable addition to the range. We managed to make a good deal with Kordes, enabling us to breed Red Eagle exclusively for a few years.”

    The cultivar has been tested since 2014. The trial section was slowly expanded to an area of 5,000 m2, while the first flowers were distributed exclusively, through one exporter. “This enabled us to get feedback from buyers. And going to fairs and trade shows such as Fleuramour in Alden Biesen, isn’t just a good way to promote ourselves, it also provides us with useful information, just like our contribution to the Cupidab campaign at the 2016 Canal Parade. Florists told us for example, that Red Eagle is the first red rose without black edges. And they said that the firm, almost thornless stem is easy to work with.”

    By now, Arend Roses has replaced their 4 hectares of Grand Prix by 3.7 ha of Red Eagle, and the other 0.3 ha is planted with the dark red Black Baccara. “We’d like to grow several exclusive varieties of roses at our 15-ha company. We’ll be expanding to a total of 13 cultivars this year – we send some of it to the auction and we trade the rest. Our varieties aren’t limited to white and red, we grow a range of different colours. But red remains, just like white, an important colour.”

    Valentine’s Day
    Arend Roses knows from the testing phase, that the cultivation of Red Eagle is going well. Production is similar to Red Naomi!. The growers don’t want to jump the gun though, as they haven’t yet seen several hectares develop over a number of years. The price has also been good so far. “The price hasn’t gone down yet. We’re all set for Valentine’s Day”, says marketer Ferry van Rodijnen.

    During the conversations with growers and breeders, the relationship between red and Valentine’s Day comes up several times. According to breeding company Interplant Roses, their deep red cutting rose Explorer is the ultimate Valentine’s rose for many countries. But, they say the cultivar is a popular choice for Women’s Day, Mother’s Day and the Christmas period as well.

    Interplant introduced this rose in 2011 and they have seen demand for their Explorer more than double since 2014. Of the 75 ha that’s currently in production worldwide, 90% is planted in Ecuador. More new cultivars are on the way, including red ones. And that’s something that almost all breeders said, when we asked them what they were offering Dutch growers with regards to red rose. And they added that the standard is high!

    Dutch red roses
    For Dutch greenhouses, First Red was an important rose from 1988-2008 and Red Berlin from 1996-2009. Passion was first launched in 1998. At its height, there was 80 ha of Passion in the Netherlands. Grower Marjoland (who used to have 20 ha of Passion at some stage) cleared the last 6 ha in 2015. There’s still a limited supply of Grand Prix from the Netherlands. Grand Prix was first traded at the auction in 1994. Red Naomi! was introduced in 2006 and is currently by far the most cultivated red rose in the Netherlands. The largest production area so far was 85 ha in 2016.