Calla Captain Solo is high in demand because of the colour and its multipurpose
The yellow colour and multipurpose use for both pot plant and cut flowers, makes this growing variety desired.
Currently, the demand for calla variety Captain Solo exceeds its supply. The yellow colour and multipurpose use for both pot plant and cut flowers, makes this growing variety highly desired. During the annual ‘Captain Calla Days’, Rob Brekelmans, breeder of Kapiteyn bv, spoke with immense pride about ‘his’ calla.
Simultaneously with the Dutch Lily Days, Kapiteyn organises the annual Captain Calla Days every first week of June. This is when the company, which is specialised in breeding, cultivation and export of callas, opens its greenhouses in Anna Paulowna to the public. On display were more than 40 cut flower variety callas and over 20 pot calla varieties. One of the eye catchers was Captain Solo with its large headed flowers.
The first cultivation of this variety started in 2008 and since 2013 it has been introduced in more commercial volumes on the calla market. Rob Brekelmans, breeder at Kapiteyn speaks about a growing variety with great potential. Main reason for this is its colour. “Yellow is highly desired”, says Brekelmans, “in addition, the Captain solo is also suitable for pot plant cultivation. The market for pot callas is much larger than the market for cut flowers. However, it is a perfect variety for cut flower cultivation as well, although the growing process is different in order to gain more stem length.
The Captain Solo is in its genetics a short, dense variety which makes it very suitable as a potted plant and also a perfect variety for the retail outlets. ‘We hear from retail and trade that they prefer short plants with lots of flowers. Well, the Captain Solo has a maximum height of 45cm, a dense foliage structure and many flowers to show for’, says Brekelmans. Overall, it is good value for money and perhaps even more important, it will give the end consumers happiness for a long time after buying this calla.
The shelf-life of the calla is a characteristic, where a lot of time and energy has been put in during the breeding process within the entire Kapiteyn organisation. ‘We can have a beautiful plant, but if it only lasts a week in store and at consumers, than it is not a good, complete variety’.
Our customers have indicated to us that the plant should be at its best for a period of 6 weeks. This 6 weeks is of course difficult to achieve (at the moment), since a flower ages and naturally deteriorates on the plant. Though the calla is a plant, which even after the height of flowers, still offers ornamental value. Some florists at the Keukenhof show were overheard saying that ‘it’s the imperfection of the calla, which makes it an unique plant and a must-have for consumers.
To breeders, Captain Solo is a very rewarding cultivar to work with – it provides healthy bulbs and grows rapidly with low waste and high yields. Besides bulb breeders, both the pot plant and the cut flower nurseries feedback are very positive in regards to including this yellow Captain Solo in their growing programme. Right now, the main markets are America, United Kingdom, Columbia, Mexico, The Netherlands and China. The latter is an extreme growth market for the calla in general, for certain varieties we see a doubling of sales.
Naturally, research and development never stops at Kapiteyn. We see it as a continuous process where enormous amounts of time, resources and effort is being spent, aimed at improving and innovating our calla stock. All efforts are made to create the best product for our customers throughout the supply chain from the nursery to our global end consumers.
Text: Jeannet Pennings
Fotography: Rene Faas