A large number of Dutch rose growers have to deal with difficult times. Therefore changing business activities in order to keep up with the market trends is a must to survive in the sector. At the IFTF in Vijfhuizen, we spoke with Erik Spek, the director of the family business Jan Spek Rozen. This company adjusted their business activities to the market trends and is now one of the oldest rose companies in the world. They hope to celebrate their 125 anniversary next year.
In 1980 the company was established by Jan Spek, the grand-grand-father of Erik Spek. They grew different garden plants, but the rose always ran through the business like a continuous thread. In the sixties, a new phenomenon arose; growing cut roses in a greenhouse. The family business directly adopted this phenomenon and started to breed cut roses in their greenhouses. Later in the sixties they became an agent Kordes Rosen (1887) in Holland, who were 3 years their senior, and stopped their own breeding.
After recognizing increasing competition from the African countries in the late nineties, Jan Spek Rozen decided to start up their own breeding again to get involved with these African and South American countries. Nowadays, they sell their new varieties mainly via agents to rose growers located in Kenya, Ethiopia, Columbia and Ecuador.
Just like any flower breeder, they focus on the enhancement of the features of the flower. "Breeding roses will take 3 years and during these three years, a breeder tries to get all the positive characteristics out of the plant" says Spek. Because the main business of Jan Spek Rozen is situated in countries that are exporting their roses, extra attention is paid to the capability of the rose in order to handle a particular climate and their way of transportation.
The company continuously tries to introduce new varieties that they present at different exhibitions worldwide. Next year, they hope to celebrate their 125 years anniversary and they will be decorated by the Dutch Royal House again. In 1990, Jan Spek Rozen was already decorated with the predicate " Royal warrant holder". They are the only rose breeding company that was royally decorated by the Dutch Royal House. For example, due to their connection with the Royal House they were asked to name one of their plantbed varieties, which they started breeding recently, after the Royal Palace Soestdijk; Rosa "Paleis Soestdijk". This rose was Christened on May 27th 2014 and will be on the market in 2015.