What route have the Anthurium plants been on before they arrive in your flower shop? Flower Factor takes a look behind the scenes at the Dutch Anthurium grower Fuerte Planta.
Each 4 weeks 13.000 plants are placed for planting.
Brothers Menno and Jordi van der Lans are the owners of Fuerte Planta, partner of Flower Factor. They have lots of different varieties in different stages in their greenhouse; plants that are tested, plants that are ready to go to the auction and everything in between. “We are the smallest Dutch Anthurium grower when it comes to numbers", Menno tells me modestly. "But that's a choice we made, we like to focus on special varieties for florists rather then the mass production. We can't and don't want to compete with the large growing companies".
Fuerte Planta's new variety: the Adios Special, available end of 2016. Growing an Anthurium takes 45 weeks. Bringing a new variety on the market is a two year investment.
We still do a lot by hand, like planting the cuttings. At the same time we check the quality of the plants.
As a relative newbie in this work field, I'm amazed by the sheer quantity of plants and ask all questions that come to mind. What does that machine do? How many plants do you have? Why are all pots on the ground? And how long does it take until the plants are ready for sale? Menno and Jordi happily explain everything with a little spark in their eyes. The way they subdivide the greenhouse, the tailor made machinery, their processes, almost all aspects get discussed. “We still do al lot by hand, like planting the cuttings. At the same time we check the quality of the plants, Jordi explains". Quality is one of their main concerns, as well as customer service and sustainability.
Miniature Anthuriums in the testing phase, that takes at least one year.
If a customer only wants two plants, that can be arranged. “Because some florists just don't need the standard amount. We are happy to customize orders", says Menno. They keep in close contact with their customers via What's App. And use Facebook to show their extraordinary products. A customer in Madagascar found Fuerta Planta that way. Menno: "There are only two flower shops in the whole country, not a big target area you would say, but still; it's cool our plants travel that far!"
Walking round the greenhouse, Menno shows me a little bag with sawdust that also contains the tiniest mites. "We fight infestations organically nowadays. It is a more expensive method, but more effective as well. The mites prevent damage to the plants caused by trip larva and louse. Since 2014 we use geothermal energy as our main energy source. An investment that has paid itself back already".
The Anthurium in the middle has 'green ears'; referring to the green edges on the flower.
Menno and Jordi show me the geothermal energy installation outside the greenhouse and once outside I feel relieved. With humidity inside the greenhouse of at least a hundred percent and temperatures around 35 degrees Celsius, I salute the men working here on a daily base. It takes a lot of sweat, but you get the prettiest Anthuriums!