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Flower Lounge on the Road | Royal Flora Holland Trade Fair & IFTF

Netherlands 2023


It’s been a few years since I have visited these two shows, in fact pre-Covid. I was very surprised to feel that the Royal Flora Holland Trade Fair seemed to be bigger this year. Or was it my excitement to see so many wonderful, enthusiastic exhibitors with striking booths and most importantly showcasing their stunning product?


The IFTF (International Floriculture Trade Fair) show, was equally exciting, with many familiar faces being seen again after the past few years. This industry never fails to disappoint, no matter how long it is between seeing people, when you do meet, it’s as though it was only last week that you last had a conversation. Networking and relationships are so important!


So, to get back to the Fairs, what’s the difference between them?


The Royal Flora Holland Trade Fair

This event offers great opportunities to make new contacts, catch up and do business. During this fair you can see new varieties, new methods of packing, how suppliers are working hard towards becoming more sustainable, with innovative ideas being showcased alongside many other inspirational products. With over 600 exhibitors, it is well worth a visit.


IFTF

This fair is all about everything relating to plant breeding, innovating, producing, packing, trading and transporting. Lots of growers are also at this show, with some booths really going to town on their displays and hospitality on the stand. Lots of colour and lots of flowers and plants! I was also interested to see so many logistics and freight/cargo companies showcasing their tech, how they are also working towards more sustainable processes and how they can pack and deliver in a much better way. Fascinating. This fair had approximately 300 exhibitors with a truly international representation from 15 countries and 135 growers.


 

Flower Lounge on the road Logo

We also took our Flower Lounge video series on the road to the fairs. Watch regular contributor Karen Barnes give insight into some of the exhibitors, with insight into some of the new and upcoming products showcased at the fairs. Including Interviews with 34 Degrees South, Chrysal, Lugt Lisianthus and much more. Coving topics of sustainability, flower breeding and design inspiration to name but a few.


If the video above isn't working, you can watch the video on youtube here.


 



Spotted at the Trade Fairs

  • South American carnations are doing very well, with coffee/terra colours proving popular.

  • Roses and gypsophila are popular in China, mainly the dyed, glittered novelty types. Usually it’s a white rose variety or red rose variety that are used to enable the dyes to be systemically absorbed.

  • Preserved flowers have also grown considerably in popularity in recent years, mainly in the US. In Europe, growth seems to have levelled off somewhat again.

There were a number of companies that stood out for me at both trade shows. I am always looking out for new trends, especially as I am a creator of trend directions. I love seeing how the trends are emerging in our industry and how designers and developers have worked to bring the trends to life.


At the Royal Flora Holland Trade Fair, I came across a fabulous dried flower company called Lamboo, a family business based in Holland. Dried flowers and decorative products are their passion, and from seed to dried concept, every step is handled in house. All their products are grown outdoors locally. They shared a fabulous video showing how they harvest and dry their natural materials. They use water-based dyes and something that really caught my attention, was that they have a programme that allows their dried stem waste to be used to make their own wrapping paper: dried flower-based paper! It looked so pretty too.



In terms of new varieties, I was like a child in a candy store!


Marginpar had a large booth with an installation created by renowned floral artist Dmitry Turcan, showcasing a plethora of beautiful materials, some of which were gloriosa, ornamental grasses, clematis and Craspedia. We even caught a demo from Dmitry!



I also spotted a fabulous new white variety of Clematis called 'Vienna' – a strong, long life variety grown exclusively for Marginpar. Marginpar Craspedia was a highlight too, with 10 thousand stems being grown for the Chelsea Flower Show 2024!



Ranunculus 'Butterfly' was on show and one grower in particular stood out. Green Works. I was particularly impressed with the strong colours and that they don’t have hollow stems, which ensures less disease, therefore longevity! I was captivated by the volume of each stem and would love to see their greenhouses one day. They grow traditional Ranunculus too with very large flowers, which are so beautiful. They are a Dutch company in the Westland, that grow their Ranunculus from tissue culture in their own greenhouses. A company with sustainability very much at the heart of their business.


Ranunculus 'Butterfly Phytalos' and Ranunculus 'Romance' grown by Green Work


I came across an Orchid grower stand Anthura with some facts that took my eye… did you know that the ideal temperature to store Phalaenopsis pot plants is 14C in retail and stores and that good quality Phalaenopsis pot plants will flower exuberantly for up to 6 months and that Anthurium pot plants have a guarantee from Anthura of up to 6 months?


Long-flowering Phalaenopsis Orchid Pot plants from Anthura


Novelties and innovation are very important for our floriculture industry and each year Royal Flora Holland presents an award called the Glazen Tulip Award to recognise the best new market introductions, awarded in five categories. I was on the Lugt Lisianthus stand, catching up with a friend of mine Jolanda van der Lugt, whose husband grows the Lisianthus and was delighted to see that they had won first prize in the cut flower category!


The amazing new variety is Eustoma russellianum 'Rosanne Terracotta', a clever variety that has an incredible lime green look then when blooming, becomes a fabulous terracotta. So versatile!


The winning variety on the Lugt Lisianthus stand


Who doesn’t love Proteas and Cape Flora? I was blown away by the incredible vases of proteas, finbos and cape flora on the 34 Degrees South stand. Small, but oh so eye-catching, this stand stood out for me and I met the lovely Fergus who is one of the growers in the family business. Nestled in the Outeniqua mountains, the proteas and cape flora are cultivated sustainably. Fergus agreed be filmed whilst I asked him a few questions about his magnificent King Proteas for the Interflora Floristry Trade Club!


King Proteas, Finbos and Cape Flora grown by 34 Degrees South, South Africa


Whilst visiting the IFTF the following day, other new varieties that took my breath away, where on the Rosaprima stand. They are certainly what I would describe as luxury roses. The head size, the perfume, and the breadth of choice is extraordinary. With more than 150 varieties of estate-grown roses, Rosaprima work with world renowned rose breeders, testing thousands of rose varieties on their 375-acre estate in the Guachala region of Ecuador at a altitude of 9,350feet. As a result, their collection is a unique assortment of the best roses in the world. They are also committed to growing the most beautiful flowers in a socially and environmentally responsible manner. Some of the key facts:

  • They save over 3million gallons of water per year.

  • They have established over 150 acres of protected trees which are carefully maintained.

  • 4 reservoirs are used to collect and recycle water.

  • 220+ tons of plastic is recycled each year

My favourite new rose on the Rosaprima stand was ‘Veggie’, so different and such a fabulous colouring.


‘Veggie’ Rose from Rosaprima


Rosaprima also have a brand called Floraprima, whom supply top quality Ranunculus and Anemones…their stems are so thick!


I was invited on to the Chrysal stand, where I was impressed with the continuous work that Chrysal are investing in with sustainable flower food sachets and transporting fresh flowers by sea, which is a Chrysal service called Blue Box. This is a unique post-harvest concept that keeps flowers fresh and controls Botrytis during air freight, sea freight and long storage. It enables, growers, importers and retailers to streamline their operations by offering transparency and insight into the entire journey of cut flowers from harvest and processing to trucking and oversees shipment by container in a sustainable way.


On my last day, on the way to the airport, I visited one of the sponsors of the Interflora World Cup 2023 after receiving an invitation to see their operation in Holland …Hoek Flowers. A very modern, enthusiastic company, growing incredibly well, they are dynamic and forward-thinking, with customer service second to none. The quality of their stock (and I know from personal experience) is exceptional and they have exciting plans ahead. I was lucky to be invited into the operation and packaging site and was amazed! They are the only flower company in Holland with an automatic packing operation that uses robots. A sight to behold I must say and such a high-tech operation. They also have state of the art boxes that can be collected with your next delivery to be reused; every box has a microchip in it so they can be located, are made from recycled materials so that they are water repellent and can be re used over and over again.


Robot system at Hoek Flowers


Such a fantastic few days and I cannot wait to do it again next year!

 
Karen Barnes

With over 35 years’ experience, Karen Barnes is one of the UK’s leading consultants to the floral industry and an expert in product development, future trends & colours, and floral photography design & planning. She’s an interior floral designer, high profile wedding and event floral planner, and prominent international competition judge.


From teaching on a one-to-one basis to coaching small, intimate classes and larger teams, Karen can encourage, motivate and mentor your next step in the florist industry. Sharing her vast experience, Karen can help you expand your knowledge and creativity

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