Craftsmanship and continuous development as a recipe for success

Breeding is part of a complex process. Gerard Zwiers, head of breeding at Schoneveld Breeding, knows that as a fact. He leads a team of experts which is responsible for development and innovations in the assortment of the Dutch breeder. “Breeding is a long-term process. As a breeder, you have a unique perspective on plants.” You have to engage in this work for a certain amount of time to get to the bottom of it.”

“Knowledge results in craftsmanship”, states Gerard. “That is why you not only have to gain experience, but also have to keep an eye onmarket trends and developments. It is essential to have a powerful team that can rely on each other and ensure nothing is overlooked.” Gerard and his team ensure the Schoneveld Breeding quality with that strategy for many years. 

Growing supporters

“We are always up to date. Not only of the newest developments in breeding, we also know what is happening with our customers”, explains Gerard. “Our growing supporters serve as the eyes and ears of our team. They visit growers and know exactly what is happening. At the same time, it is because of them that growers have such a high level of knowledge and are able to maximize the potential of our seeds.”

Keep pace

While the method of working with growing supporters may be a little unusual in the sector, Gerard believes it is highly effective. “It makes it possible for us to keep pace with the market. We have been doing so for many decades. We always have a solution ready when growers ask for it. That is the result of working with growing supporters. They know what is important for a long time. This allows us to set precise breeding goals and remain highly flexible when necessary.”

The moving along also means a constant development of what is already there. A nice example is Super Serie Verano, according to Gerard. “We introduced Verano around 2006 and it still exists. Even more, growers worldwide ask for ‘a Verano’ instead of that easy to grow mini-Cyclamen for the Summer. Is there even a bigger compliment possible?”

“Resilience is different from resistance. By creating the right circumstances in the greenhouse, the right genes will come to expression.”

Resilient or resistant?

Gerard is proud of the development of Verano. “It became more and more uniform over the years, more resilient and suitable for growing with less warmth, in a greenhouse that becomes more modern, and so on. And note the term ‘resilient’. That is different than ‘resistant’. We do not spray anymore for many years, by creating the right circumstances in the greenhouse, the right genes will come to expression.”

“By constantly testing how products behave under different circumstances, you can create better products”, continues Gerard. “That is the reason we set up extensive trials at growers. It is nice for them to get to know our products as an early adaptor, it is nice for us to be able to learn as much as possible about the performances of our products. Moreover, it is a way to stay up to date with what is going on in the market.”

“You have to keep developing further. If you don’t, you will be old and out.”

Further development

Gerard points to the continuous changes in the market. “Look at our Super Serie Leopardo. Developed for warmer areas, but by now a popular product in North-Europe. You have to keep developing further. If you don’t, you will be old and out very soon. We always strive for the best result but are content with a little less. Because I think improvement is a continuous process.”


Looking at the total assortment of Cyclamen, Gerard proudly sees the knowledge and experience of his team. “We have for every region and every climate all year round a series available. Isn’t that amazing! If we as a team are convinced something is possible, we work for it. And we don’t stop until we succeed.” 

Super Serie Fusion Large
That means Schoneveld Breeding is not always the fastest. “That’s not necessary”, according to Gerard. “As long as you are the best.” He recalls the recently introduced Super Serie Fusion Large Cyclamen with unique colour pattern as an example. “We wanted to develop a large-flowered Cyclamen with the extraordinary two-toned flowers we had seen in Japan. Therefore, we knew it existed in nature so we should be able to create it. And so we did, thanks to the craftsmanship of the team here.”


“That same craftsmanship is to be found all through the company. One shouldn’t forget that everyone here has an important role. Not only we as breeders, the people in the greenhouses, in the office, we are all chains in the bigger picture. And you are as a company as strong as your weakest link. That is why craftsmanship is on top of the priority list at Schoneveld Breeding. No matter how much the market changes, we master the craft and always remain the reliable expert partner for growers. We are who we are as Schoneveld Breeding and we will continue to do what we do.”

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