Flowers Abound in Ecuador

Ecuador suddenly woke up about a decade ago to its potential of growing and exporting flowers. It has now captured a significant portion of the international market. The climate is conducive to growth of many species of flowers, including Asthromelias, Carnations, Chrysanthemums, Daisies, Limonium, Gypsophila (“Baby’s Breath”), Limonium and Liatris species and “Summer bloomers”. Tropical species like the Heliconia are grown in warm and humid areas of Ecuador. The varieties of Carnations that are cultivated include Norla Barlo, Charmeur, Dark Organe Telster and Dallas.

The leader of the pack is the rose and Ecuador exports 60 varieties including the red varieties First Red, Classi, Dallas, Mahalia, Madame Del Bar and Royal Velvet. The yellow varieties that ar cultivated are Allsmer Gold and Skyline. Others include the pink-blossomed Anna Nubia and the purple-colored Ravel and Gretta. Of course there are all the shades in between as well. Cut flowers, particularly the roses are the biggest chunk of the export pie.

With more ornamental flowers joining the bandwagon, Gerbera daisies, sunflowers, and showy annuals of the genus Geodetia (Clarkia) are also under cultivation. Chrysanthemums alone are of three kinds: Daises pompoms, Ornamental pompoms and Novel pompoms.

Canada, Germany, Holland, Italy, Russia, and the United States are the main countries that these flowers are exported to. Ecuador also exports to Austria, Chile, Argentina, the Czech Republic, France, Hong Kong, Spain, Sweden, and Switzerland. Currently over 2,000 hectares (5,000 acres) are under cultivation.

Ideal climatic conditions and inexpensive production costs are the distinct advantage and the future looks bright for flower export. Ecuador’s geographical location and natural conditions give the country an advantage. The country’s technological strengths and infrastructure factors make Ecuador’s cut flower industry one of the world’s leaders.

Ecuador’s bio-diverse geography from the low coastal highlands to the high Andes (Sierra) plus the lower tropical Oriente and Amazon area encourages a number of species of flowers to grow. One of the most popular tourist attractions of Ecuador is the Flower Market on the little Plaza del Carmen in the town of Cuenca. This charming old world town is full of visitors but few would be unmoved by the flower market.