The Rose Business

The Rose Business
The rose business is changing! For many years, most of the commercial growing fields for roses were in the fertile valleys of California. The larger varieties of roses were mostly grafted on Doctor Huey root stock, and grown to large commercial size in the deep soil, long growing seasons of California. The two largest rose distributors, Jackson & Perkins, and Weeks Roses, were located in California. In the past couple of years, both of these rose distributors have experienced financial troubles and entered bankruptcy. Apparently, their fertile fields in California were very valuable, and were sold to pay their debts.
The word I get is that both companies have been reorganized, and are now in the process of moving some of their operations from California to Ohio. The reorganized Weeks Company, a wholesale distributor, has roses available for 2012 through Edmunds Roses, and through other retail garden centers, or nurseries. I have seen no new Jackson & Perkins Catalogs this year. Apparently, since they were in Bankruptcy longer, they were not able to graft many roses for sale in 2012.
I also understand that along with their move from California to Ohio, their will also be a move to produce more own-root roses. Grafting roses is a labor intensive process, requiring skilled labor, while growing roses from cuttings is a lower skilled process, and easier to mechanize. One result of this change will probably be smaller new rose plants. Grafted roses from northern and Canadian nurseries usually are smaller on arrival, than California grown plants, probably due at least in part, to the longer California growing season. Those who have grown some of their own large roses from cuttings, know that roses from cuttings often take longer to produce large plants.
Their may be a proximity advantage for mid-west growers when commercial rose operations move to Ohio. For several years we have noticed that new rose varieties, often appear a year or two earlier in California and near by states, than they do in our area. We suspect that this may be due to personal connections that rose growers develop with rose companies in their area, including some early test marketing.

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