Roses with luxurious allure

07-10-2019    20:45   |    Floraculture

A newcomer to rose cultivation has been founded on a company’s expertise in large-scale greenhouse production of tomatoes in Mexico. Company owner Luis Corella Arroquia chose to diversify into Red Naomi roses because of the product’s unrivaled beauty and believed stable ranking as well a desire to explore new territory.

Spain produces more olive oil than Italy, exports more wine than France and is one of the most important fruit and vegetable suppliers to the European market. In terms of global production of cut roses, however, the country is an extremely small player with only a handful of rose nurseries producing for the domestic market. Until now. A new Spanish-Dutch greenhouse project, Aleia Roses, dedicated to growing the signature Red Naomi rose year-round for the north European market is set to revolutionise the future of rose growing in Spain.


A forgotten corner of rural Spain

Aleia Roses’14-ha site is based in Soria, an almost forgotten corner of rural Spain, a province in the autonomous community of Castilla y Leon. Madrid, to the south, is about a two-hour drive away. It is a region of farmland, scattered market towns and unspoiled habitat where you can just be lucky enough (unless you are a sheep farmer) to see wolves roaming the undulated landscape.


Bathed in natural light

Bathed in natural light – Soria enjoys more sunlight than almost anywhere else in Spain (25% higher levels of solar radiation compared to the Netherlands) – Aleia’s greenhouses were designed and built by Dutch-based manufacturer Dalsem – with whom Corella also worked within Mexico – to embody environmental technologies aimed at reducing the facility’s carbon footprint.


High pressure sodium grow lights are installed that supply 156 micromoles / m² / sec. in winter. It is with great interest that the company follows the different LED lighting trials at Dutch rose farms and research institutes. The value which LED lights deliver has been carefully weighed but so far they prefer HPS lamps as these generate both light and heat.


Wait-and-see attitude

In the beginning, generating demand was easier said than done and undoubtedly much more time consuming than when selling Mexican-grown tomatoes in the USA. Corella recalls that one single visit to a big box store was often enough to sell his entire year’s produce. In contrast, Aleia’s predominant Dutch customer base, that is Royal FloraHolland based floral wholesalers, took a-wait-and-see attitude at first. Now that the company has launched its Aleia Maxima brand under which it sells its premium quality roses in stem lengths 60,70, 80 and 90 cm it has found its path to bloom and able to deliver the cream of the rose crop.


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Photo Credit: Kengo Itou via Pixabay

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