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The selection will eventually be planted at our farms in Kenya. The process follows two years of pre-selection:

  • In the first year, breeder Peter Akerboom sorts through thousands of seedlings to find the most beautiful colours.
  • In the second year, he multiplies each stem into six plants in the test field.
  • In the third year, Bram van Mil - Product Manager- and Bart Merkus - Product Development Manager -  visit to make a selection out of hundreds, based on shape and colour.

Afterwards, Akerboom continues testing. From this selection, he identifies the best varieties. Peter says:

Vase life is the most important factor. Only when that is checked off, does the selection process continue.

Bram’s attention is caught by many varieties, but he ultimately chooses very specifically:

'The goal is to create series. A stem can be beautiful, but if the head size is too big, too small, or if it is not single or double as needed, it just doesn’t make the cut.'

Currently, we grow two series: a double-flowered series (Double Date) and a single-flowered series (Teeny Tiny). Bram and Bart are particularly looking for a beautiful white variety for both. 

Aster breeder visit

White is really a must within a series; it allows a florist to go in any direction.

Our attention is also drawn to some special other colours, ranging from pastels to dark shades. The comparison to a candy store is quickly made… 

Out of the 100 varieties that Peter and his daughter Ellen Akerboom prepared, we select about ten.

Aster breeder visit
Aster breeder visit

It is now up to Akerboom to eventually expand the selection to suitable plant material, which will be planted in the test fields at the farms. In addition to vase life, stem structure, colour fastness, and flower shape, Akerboom pays extra attention to selecting strong varieties that are as disease-resistant as possible. And the involvement doesn’t end there. Peter and his wife Gerda visit the farms twice a year to see what is going well and what can be improved.

The Marginpar assortment greatly benefits from the involvement of our breeders. Like the Akerboom family, there are about 30 others. Some are large, some are small, but all have immense knowledge and passion for their products. Yet, Peter acknowledges that the profession is full of challenges: 'Every day is different, and you really have to stay on top of things; otherwise, you won't make it. We want to offer consistent quality.'

We will have to wait patiently to see what the selection will ultimately bring. If you don't want to miss out on the latest news, join our monthly newsletter: 

Aster breeder visit