With their new chrysanthemum Ilonka
, a long quest for a successor to Bacardi has been found. After sixteen years this established chrysant is ready to be replaced. So, what took the breeders of Dümmen Orange
so long? Here is the full first-hand story from Global Marketing Specialist Roy van Kester and Trade Manager Marchel den Haan about the whitest single-flowered spray chrysant.
It never stops at Dümmen Orange, even not now they have discovered the perfect white chrysant, "A powerhouse", as Roy describes the new white chrysant with the bright green heart. He continues: "We must continuously look at the demands from the market. Even in single white chrysanthemums, the requirements change."
Roy van Kester (left) and Marchel den Haan from Dümmen Orange
First of all, there is a big market for purer white chrysants than the ones offered nowadays. So, after four, five years of research and development we now have this perfect white one, Ilonka.
Another aspect that accounts more these days is the risen demand for the various dyed and painted chrysants. Like it or not, there is an increasing market for this, so growers want to grow chrysants that meet this demand and are easy to dye, and will show their new colors optimally. Ilonka has all the right specifications for dyeing."
First at Sensation
The first grower to plant Ilonka was nursery Sensation
. This quality grower is the usual suspect when it comes to testing promising wannabe-novelties. At the moment a small field at Sensation is used to grow a new variety, it has only a number, not a name yet. This name is given once the test was successful. Roy: "Sensation has been showing us the best quality of Ilonka, what convinced us that this was finally the one to replace Bacardi."
Marchel den Haan adds: "It is quite a long stretch for a grower like Sensation to be the first to test a new variety. You need to grow in all seasons to gather data about how this chrysant thrives best. Testing at nursery Sensation works great for us since they have the will to do these trials."
So after a year and a half of testing both nursery Sensation and Dümmen Orange
were convinced that this was the new perfect white powerhouse. It only needed a name.
The Importance of a Good Name
Marchel: "Choosing a name for a flower is quite a thing. You have to consider the product itself, the markets it will be fit for, it has to sound familiar, easy on the ear. As a tribute to the grower Sensation, the name of the owner's daughter came up: 'Ilonka'. And everyone, including the lady herself, liked it. So it was decided at their kitchen table at 3 PM. That's how simple things can be sometimes."
Roy van Kester: One of the USPs of chrysanthemum Ilonka is dyeability. Nowadays, this is an important demand in several markets, increasingly in Eastern Europe." Marchel den Haan adds: "When you visit a company like G. de Koning
, specialized in dyeing flowers, It is amazing to see the huge, really huge amounts of all kinds of flowers in all imaginable colors. It's really a trend these days, not only for the retail but also with florists."
Aiming at Renewal and New
With this new chrysant Dümmen Orange aims at both their existing growers to renew their assortment towards Ilonka, but also at growers who do not grow this single-white yet. Marchel den Haan: "With the strong Bacardi, we were on a fast-moving train, never really needing to jump off. And it is still a very strong one. However, developments do not stop, not with us nor with our competitors. So, it is good that we found an even better one, fresher, whiter, and with more flowers per stem than any comparable chrysant within this segment. The heart is fresher green too, so we are very satisfied with the result."
Messages to Growers, Wholesalers, and Florists
Roy: "For potential growers, it's important to know that the shelf life of Ilonka is outstanding. We've done extensive simulations to guarantee this. And the cost price to grow per stem is very good. For wholesalers, it is paramount that the flowers are very well fit for long-distance transport. The petals will not fold or bruise during transport. Finally, for florists, designers, and consumers: chrysanthemum Ilonka
is a cheerful personality that brightens up your bouquet. It is really a fresh pure-white high segment chrysant that will be fun to look at, fun to style with."