Christian Schwartz, Gartneriet Rønbæk: ‘Phalaenopsis supply exceeds demand’

Christian Schwartz is familiar with the general picture of the Danish floricultural industry. Bedding plants, green plants and flowering pot plants are doing well. But things aren’t as bright for the four Danish phalaenopsis growers.

“When it comes to important flower days such as Mother’s Day, Valentine’s Day and Women’s Day, you can’t have too many plants, but the same day orders are tough”, says Schwartz. Phalaenopsis doesn’t sell that well, the Russian market in particular is difficult. It used to be the most important market for Gartneriet Rønbæk, they reached it mainly through Danish exporter Gasa. But the devaluation of the rouble changed it all. The Russians are now buying cheaper plants. Scandinavia has become the most important market for Gartneriet Rønbæk instead.

The nursery celebrates its 40th anniversary this year. The company has been growing phalaenopsis for twenty years. It was one of the first Danish companies to do so. Before that, they cultivated green plants. The 2-ha company in Hinnerup, nearby Aarhus, grows phalaenopsis in 6-, 9- and 12-cm pots. Their varieties originate from Floricultura, Anthura, Sion and Microflor. They also have a collaboration with Bremkens. “We cultivate young plants, which Bremkens sells for us”, says Schwartz, who runs the company together with his father and brother. The Schwarz family is also involved in selecting, but not in breeding.

The electricity tax (PSO) has been a major problem for the Schwartz family the last couple of years. Last year for example, they were charged a total of €50,000 according to Christian. “Orchid growers use a lot of energy. This tax has been disastrous for our competitiveness on the European market. It really kills the entire sector.”

The good news is that in the meantime it has been decided that the tax is gradually going to be reduced over the next couple of years and cancelled altogether eventually. Schwartz feels that since a few decades the Danish pot plant industry has lost its importance. “Thirty years ago, Danish pot plant growers were leading the global market. Nowadays, there isn’t much left of the sector. The Netherlands has taken over the leading role.”

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