Florismart has taken up the role of matchmaker and set up Florismart florists with several growers. These Grower Ambassadors are the voice of the growers, the champion of their products and the link to other florists. In this article, Katie-Jane Hermes from The Garden Studio shares her enthusiasm about gerbera grower Holstein Flowers. Scroll down to learn more about this one of a kind grower.
Written by Katie-Jane Hermes
I’m thrilled to announce that I have been chosen as the Grower Ambassador for Holstein Flowers. They are a premium grower of Gerbera covering 16.6 hectares across 2 locations. I met with Leo and Iris for a tour of their spectacular flower nursery.
We have all seen pictures of flower growing greenhouses. I had even seen pictures of Holstein from other florists. Nothing prepares you however for the feeling those flower-filled glass houses give you. If the 22-degree heat doesn’t take your breath away the sight of a million colourful Gerbera plants certainly will. There are rows upon rows, all organised into varieties and colour, creating a rainbow as far as the eye can see.
Holstein grows 110-130 varieties of Gerbera at any one time in their specially adapted greenhouse. These greenhouses automatically react to the outside conditions. If the inside gets too hot the windows open and the roof is sprayed with water. If the sun is too bright there are shades and if it gets too dark they have light and heat sources.
Passionate about quality
I have never met a grower as passionate about quality as Leo. Holstein renews their crop every 2-3 years. To illustrate, other Gerbera growers keep their plants for 3-4 years. This allows the plants to always produce the best product. It has a higher cost implication for Holstein. Which does increase the price slightly for the customer but you really do get what you pay for. Each plant produces 820 flowers per year and each of those flowers is handpicked. No scissors, no knife, hand picked from the base of the plant. This allows the stems to be as long as possible and is much healthier for the plant as there is no excess stem to rot. Once they have been handpicked they are loaded onto automated trolleys and taken into the packing area. Here they are cut using a machine and packaged into the relevant boxes or racks. The Gerbera that are sorted by hand go into the card trays ready to be boxed are hung in a water Chlorine mix to drink for 3-4 hours, the others go into buckets. They don’t use flower food because the flower does not need to develop, it is already as open as it will be.
Innovation is key
Each year Holstein introduces 10-15 new varieties of Gerbera each year. They are very forward thinking when it comes to innovation. At Holstein, they have a whole greenhouse dedicated to testing new varieties. Each new variety takes 3-4 years to come to market. Once they have determined that a plant has met all the criteria set it is followed closely for 8 weeks. If after those 8 weeks it is still meeting the criteria the plant is split into 30 test plants ready to be scrutinised again. Furthermore, they even care for individual varieties depending on their characteristics. Anita is a plant that needs to be changed every year to ensure quality. Belfi is much harder to harvest so can sometimes need a firm hand.
Gerberas for all occasions
I truly believe that Gerbera can be used for all occasions. The vast amount of varieties that Holstein grow really do allow for a broad use in designs. They have some stunning bright varieties that would work perfectly in a shop like Rockstar, Love me and Bonita. There is also the Pomponi variety with its dense pom-pom style that can easily replace Dahlia in wedding work. Bokito has dark dusky pink tones, Black Pearl is the perfect burgundy and Japio is the most stunning rich berry purple. While Kermit has white green petals and Zenna-M is a wonderful warm beige. Customers can buy all these products on the Florismart Pre-order platform ensuring they come directly from Holstein to you in a matter of days.
Care tips from the grower
To ensure the perfect quality once they have reached your shop make sure:
- You hang the gerbera so they can drink before you use them
- Use a special gerbera flower food tablet
- Once placing them in a vase only use a small amount of water and make sure the vase is clean.