Roses hold a distinct position in the hierarchy of flowers – they’re generally considered the best of all flowers. Red roses are a sign of love, yellow roses are a sign of friendship, and white roses signify purity, which is why they’re often used for both weddings and funerals. And this is just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to colors and variations.
Roses feature prominently in poetry, perhaps due to their beauty, fragrance, and symbolism. They are considered a wonderful gift and some are even used to make beauty products and food. Ask anyone which flower is the cream of the crop and the answer will undoubtedly be the rose. So where do the best roses in the world come from?
As it turns out, those who know their roses know that the best ones come from Ecuador, thanks to a combination of elements found nowhere else on the planet. What exactly makes Ecuadorian roses the undisputed leader in terms of quality, size, color, lifespan, and so on?
Even though roses don’t happen to be native to this South American country, here are just a few reasons why Ecuador has become the producer of the best roses in the world.
As of 2015, Ecuador is the world’s third largest exporter of cut flowers, and of the flowers they send across the globe, nearly three-fourths are roses. This is despite the fact that Ecuador takes up only about 1% of the Earth’s surface.
In addition, the cut flower industry in Ecuador generates close to a billion dollars a year in revenue and employs a whopping 100,000+ people. How does this make the roses they produce the best in the world? Well, it doesn’t.
However, it does prove the value of their product. If retailers and consumers all over the globe are willing to spend hundreds of millions of dollars on Ecuadorian roses, the country is doing something right. Plus, generations of growers and exporters have likely honed their craft so as to produce the best plants on the planet. In other words, their volume of production speaks, well, volumes.
Ecuador may be best known for the beautiful, perfect roses it produces, but it also plays home to an incredible variety of flora and fauna. For example, the country is the largest producer of bananas in the world, it offers thousands of types of orchids and hundreds of different bromeliads, and boasts half of the 3,000 bird species known to exist in South America.
Although roses aren’t native to Ecuador, there are now over 500 varieties of Ecuadorian roses. This may be partly because biodiversity lends itself to propagation. With plenty of birds, bees, butterflies, and other ready sources of pollination, Ecuadorian roses can thrive as they might not in less diverse ecosystems.
Of course, artificial pollination is always an option, but it is time and labor intensive. Letting nature do the heavy lifting here is much more cost-effective, and the many species of fauna in Ecuador can accommodate.
Location and Altitude
In business, it’s all about location, and the main reason why Ecuadorian roses are considered the best in the world is due to the prime placement of this country, geographically speaking. Ecuador is located on the equator, allowing optimum sunlight for growing year-round, with a steady stream of rays coming in twelve hours a day.
Unfortunately, it is a myth that roses grown on the equator have the straightest stems (as flowers supposedly reach for the overhead sun). However, year-round sunlight means that little artificial lighting is needed for growth even during the winter months.
There are plenty of countries along the equator, though. What makes Ecuador so special? It’s the addition of the altitude. Thanks to farmlands located as much as 3,000 feet above sea level, roses are grown closer to the sun. This produces longer stems and larger blooms. The altitude also is adds to lack of insects and organisms that can are normally found at lower elevations. This aids the roses to be healthier by not being eaten or damaged in the growth process.
In other words, Ecuador’s location and topography make for ideal growing conditions for roses, which is how they are able to compete internationally and earn the distinction of producing the very best roses in the world.
In addition to growing the tallest, fullest roses in the world, Ecuador also boasts a huge variety of colors and color combinations. This is partly due to the longer growing cycle of Ecuadorian roses, which is typically about 15 weeks as opposed to the standard eight.
Longer growth cycles not only produce longer stems and larger heads, but also color varieties that include popular bicolored roses featuring different hues on the insides and edges of petals. This novelty is just one of the many reasons Ecuadorian roses have earned the reputation of being the best in the world.