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Part 2: The Paths of Garden and Florist Roses Separate
Last week, I gave you some history on florist roses and their beginnings in the garden. Today, I'm going to tell you how they ended up going separate ways. The rose varieties used for cut flower production in greenhouses were initially the same varieties that were being used in gardens. However, very early on, as the industry expanded along the Mediterranean coast and in the greenhouses near the large cities in Northern Europe and North America, flower growers began to search for varieties more suitable for the specificity of cut flower production. This began the separate path taken by the hybridizers to satisfy the very different needs of the commercial cut flower growers. This separation is even more evident today, as the cut rose industry has become a worldwide, very sophisticated enterprise worth several billion dollars annually. In fact it is estimated that the cut rose industry represents about 30,000 acres worldwide, with 900 million plants producing roughly one hundred billion stems a year. Florist roses today are hybridized for maximum productivity, vase life, and the capacity to be shipped over long distances. These roses are grown in sophisticated structures in Holland or here in California, as well as in acres and acres of plastic covered structures in Kenya, Ethiopia, Ecuador or Colombia, and now India and China. They usually have little in common with the roses you can buy for your garden at a garden retailer near you. Next: Garden Roses for the Florist.