Quito
“Get big or go home”

That very combination of words describes a land where some of the most beautiful Roses are born, raised and shipped.

The physical attributes of Quito make it one of the perfect places in the world to grow the very best large roses and other floral products as well. Situated at nearly 10,000 (9,350’) above sea level the sunlight is intense, and the temperature is just right for growing roses.

Ecuador entered the flower business about ten years after the Colombians who proved that growing and exporting flowers was a viable enterprise. They took the best techniques and practices learned from their competitors across the border and ended up being the second largest producer in South America.

Quito is a beautiful city surrounded by approx. 50 volcanos. 7 are still active and occasionally raise their voices for all the world to hear.

A curious thing about Ecuador is that the national currency is the US dollar making it easy for Americans to travel there.

The Ecuadorian growers from the very beginning focused on large headed roses and the very newest varieties on the market. This paved the way for exports to mainly Russia and Europe where these huge flowers could demand a handsome price. This prosperous market allowed the floral entrepreneurs of Quito to expand rapidly and grow they did.

As many are now aware, the Russian market changed for the worse in 2008 leaving the Ecuadoreans scrabbling to find new markets. The North American market which had grown very comfortable with Colombian Roses was the likely target for Quito growers.

As a result, the Ecuadorean growers started showing up at events catering to the US market looking for new territory. The growers have had to adjust to this market as the Americans were not so accustomed to the baseball sized heads of these roses and the high price needed to secure them.

With that said, many Ecuadorean growers have made their mark on the US/Canadian markets despite an additional 6% Import duty specifically on roses (into the US).

The Ecuadoreans have been trying to outgrow their Colombian counter parts and this year the Ecuadorean Floral Association Expoflores has decided to host their own floral show in Quito

“Flor Ecuador”. This show is a new event that is a spinoff from the Agriflor show held there for the last 15 years hosted by HPP.

With two shows to attend this year there will be a great deal of activity surrounding these events during the month of September.

The growers in Quito and the surrounding areas have made great progress in sustainability and environmental controls which have turned many a grower into a mad scientist cooking up herbal concoctions in their labs to reduce the use of pesticides and chemical fertilizers.

The floral landscape in Quito is a fluid one where the big growers are getting bigger by acquiring farms that could not manage to stay afloat. Like many industries growers must continue to improve operations and be super-efficient or as the saying goes “get big or go home”.

Author: William Armellini

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