ROSES. At first glance, a rose is just another flower to express love and communicate a romantic message. Looking closer, notice a rose has its underlying qualities and stories that make each flower exceptional. And this is true for the most sought after rose in the world, the Ecuadorian rose. Roses in Ecuador are held in very high esteem. The bloom symbolizes the national identity of Ecuador. Moreover roses make up one of Ecuador’s main exports to the world. Such is the magnificence of the flower in Ecuador that “Rose” is also the name of choice for girls and the name of a village: Saint Rose.
So what is it about Ecuadorian roses to occupy the upper echelon of the rose hierarchy? Despite being a non-native flower species, the highlands of central Ecuador has proven perfect for the production of long-stemmed roses. Ecuadorian roses refer to any rose grown, produced and exported from the nation. Ecuador is also one of the world’s biggest exporters of bananas, but the past two decades has witnessed growth in exports of the rather more fragrant crop. Ecuador is the world’s third-largest exporter of cut flowers, 73 per cent of which are roses. The flower industry in Ecuador employs more than 100,000 people worth almost USD 1 billion. Around 60 rose varieties are grown commercially in Ecuador. Flower colours include ubiquitous red and yellow as well as the purple-blooming Ravel and pink-flowering Anna Nubia cultivars. Ecuador’s rosy success comes down to its latitude. It is an ideal place to cultivate roses with natural light all year round. Rose can be grown even in winter!
Grown at the high Andean altitude, roses have a much longer growing cycle to reach long-stemmed varieties with big heads. Cold nights contribute to a lot of bicolour, with contrasting hues on the edges and the insides of petals, which are highly sought varieties. Interestingly, in a spin-off from the large scale rose cultivation, Ecuadorean rose plantations have now become visitor attractions. Large plantations receive about 100 organised visits annually, ranging from parties of tourists to groups from local embassies.
Ecuador’s unique Andes climate has resulted in one of the finest roses known in the world. Ecuadorian roses are the cumulative product of perfect sunlight, cold nights, volcanic soil, and high altitude making Ecuador famous for being the home of the most beautiful roses. Ecuadorian roses have various bright colours with different shades of red, pink, white, purple and lavender on thick long stems and baseball-sized blooms.