The new, long-lasting flower that’s charming the U.S. market.

All floral professionals are familiar with alstroemeria, but have you seen its stunning relative that is taking the industry by storm? ‘Charmelia’, meaning “charming beauty,” is a new flower variety that features 20 blooms per stem and a long-lasting vase life.

With its many branches, Charmelia’s blossoms grow upwards in a fountain-like shape topped by a rich floral crown. And as a bonus, it does not drop its flowers, and its leaves remain intensely green for an extended time.

“I am so excited about ‘Charmelia’ because it is seldom possible to bring a brand new flower to market,” Sofia Herrera, managing director at Jardines de los Andes in Bogota, Colombia, told The Produce News. “Yes, people introduce new colors of existing flowers, but this is a totally new flower. It has great characteristics, textures, performance, and vase life. It’s easy to tint and it is magical as it changes its looks and colors as it opens.”

‘Charmelia’ flowers on day one. The deep rose colors will advance to an intense blush pink as the flowers open, enlarge and actually change over time.

First introduced to the U.S. floral industry at the 2014 International Floriculture Expo, ‘Charmelia’ has been gaining traction with designers and florists ever since. While lovely on its own, Charmelia is versatile and mixes well with other blooms in bouquets and arrangements. When it’s combined with equally long-lasting flowers, a bouquet will remain attractive and fresh for weeks instead of days.

“I was so excited at the introduction of a new flower variety,” J Schwanke, flower expert and chief executive officer at uBloom in Grand Rapids, MI, told The Produce News. “It was the same excitement I experienced when alstroemeria hit the market in the 70s. ‘Charmelia’ is a wonderful addition to our flower world; with its bright, vibrant foliage and two stages of blooming velocity, it is one of the few flowers that can dance the line between being a green, a filler, or a flower. And with its potential vase life of over 20 days, it’s the poster child for value. Placing the flowers into a solution with Chrysal bulb food ensures quality advancement, because the high sugar content helps keep the colors bright and the greens green.”

And Kevin Prill, portfolio lead floral director at Ahold USA in Carlisle, PA, told The Produce News, “Charmelia is a beautiful, delicate-looking flower that is long-lasting. It looks great in a mixed bouquet or just by itself in a vase.”

Since hitting the market, ‘Charmelia’ has won the 2014 Dutch Flower Award, the 2015 FloraHolland Glazen Tulip Award, and the 2016 Keukenhof Novelty Award. The FloraHolland Glass Tulip is a prestigious award presented to the year’s best market introduction in the ornamental cultivation sector. The winners are selected from hundreds of new cultivars and concepts introduced annually at auction.

“ ‘Charmelia’ is bred exclusively by Royal Van Zanten and produced exclusively by the Jardines de Los Andes farm in Colombia for the U.S. and Americas market,” Herrera said. “We have about 10 hectares in production now. The flowers are easy to tint for more color choices, and we will be introducing some new colors next year. One of the barriers to consumers wanting to buy flowers is that they don’t think the flowers last long. Rather than their flowers lasting just a few days, here is an opportunity to buy flowers that will last weeks. It makes people feel good that they are getting their money’s worth. In the U.S., Gardens America are the distributors for wholesalers, with World Class Flowers and Gems Group the sole distributors for the mass market, serving all supermarket chains across the country.”

“Charmelia is a true performer with a wildflower look,” Schwanke added. “I love the way it embraces the trend-forward blush colors and also performs. It builds confidence in cut flower purchase and use, and is another great way for us to encourage more people to enjoy more flowers more often.”

Reprinted with permission from The Produce News, September 4-18, 2017