Preserved roses inlaid in brooches, lamps and glass slippers, pistachio trees from Corinth, Greece, and avocado plants for the living room. Some exhibitors really stood out during Flormart 2024 in Padova.
Preserved roses are nothing new. There are several companies that subject roses to a treatment that keeps them in good shape for a long time. At IFTF, several companies already showed that they master this trick. Demand for these treated roses seems to be up in recent years.
One of the companies selling preserved roses is Rosabella from Seregno, a town between Como and Milan. Besides conventional sales of preserved roses, it has been combining rose flowers with crystal for 10 years, inlaid in brooches or glass for example. The company buys its roses in Colombia and Ecuador.
“We sell these combinations to garden centres, florists and jewellers in Italy,” say Marco and Michele of Rosabella. Their products are exported to Switzerland and the south of France. They claim that the roses set in glass can last up to 10 years.
At Flormart, Rosabella showcased its new collection of preserved roses set into lamps. These creations are sold to furniture shops, bars, hotels and restaurants. “Yes, business is good,” says Marco. To expand their market, Rosabella will be attending next year’s Iberflora in Spain and a fair in Cologne.
Together with his brother and father, Vassilis Anastasopoulos runs Anastasopoulos Nurseries in the Greek town of Moulki in Corinth. The family propagates olives, citrus and pistachio trees. Olive and citrus grafting is a trick that a great many growers know, says Marketing Manager Vassilis.
Grafting pistachio, on the other hand, is very difficult. “In our region, there are growers who know how to graft pistachio trees,” assures Vassilis. “The Italians don’t know how to do it. That’s why they buy their pistachio trees from us. If they graft them themselves, they have a 6% success rate. When we do it, we have a 95% success rate.”
His father started the business in 1974. Even then, pistachio trees were grown and propagated in the region. Back then, most growers owned 1,000m2, which was sufficient to make a living. “Now pistachio trees are still generally expensive,” he says. “Production is still low, not everyone can do it.”
Vassilis explains that the secret of grafting is in the details. It involves humidity, temperature and many more details. Also, a tree takes two years to become deliverable after grafting. Growth takes one year, and then it takes another year before the part grafted to the rootstock is strong enough to export. Export takes place from November to January/February as the trees must be transported without their leaves.
A fun fact is that growers of pistachio trees need one male for every seven females. The male tree fertilises the female trees but produces no fruit itself. How to recognise males and females? By the leaf.
Anastasopoulos Nurseries grows trees on 10 ha of land across two sites. Apart from Italy, it exports to Spain and Croatia. Its customers are growers who sell the trees to garden centres, among others. Vassilis has been noticing interest from the Middle East in pistachio trees. However, the problem is the import ban on soil in this region.
Avocado as an indoor plant
The Sicilian Alessio family emphasised the novelties at their stand. Maimone Giuseppe Alessio grows olive, citrus and cycas, among others, but that was not the focus when the press visited their stand. The nursery’s innovations lie in tropical plants like avocado and mango. Maimone started focusing on those when production of their other crops increased.
According to the owner, Giuseppe Alessio, their avocado plant can be kept in the house. “Home temperatures are the same all year round: between 20 and 22 degrees. That’s fine for tropical plants.” Last year, Maimone started marketing avocado as an indoor plant, selling the first 200 – 300 plants to the UK.
Another innovation at the company is mango, even though the cultivar grown at Maimone, the Kensington Pride, arrived in Sicily from Australia as early as a century ago. It has a different flavour from ‘regular’ mangos. The company grows about 10,000 mango trees a year, which are sold under the trademark MangoMi.