“Things have improved for Danish pot plant growers the last two years, but the situation still isn’t good enough to build new greenhouses”, says Poul Riber at Handeslpladsen in Odense. “Sons or daughters are no longer interested in taking over their parents’ nurseries.”
Riber doesn’t have any successors either. He grew up with three siblings and they’re all working in the horticultural industry, just like him. None of his own children will make the same choice, though. Riber adds that high labour costs and energy prices are also challenges for the Danish horticultural industry. “Danish growers can employ people from Poland, Romania or the Ukraine to work in the greenhouses, but the trade unions make sure that these employees know their rights.”
Riber owns a 1-ha nursery in Odense, where he grows a variety of plants including calathea, philodendron, exacum and spathypillum. He’s happy with his green plants, because there’s a strong demand. Riber had plenty of orders between February and September.
Gartneriet Poul Riber’s plants are sold under the name Ladybird Flowers. This label is used by Riber as well as a few other growers. Riber started growing Calathea a year ago. His customers, Danish exporters, requested it. They could only get calathea from abroad. Riber is pleased about it. “Nobody grew calathea here. It made sense to us to do it. ‘Local for local’ is a growing trend. Especially in Sweden. Dutch growers exporting their products to us, while we export our products to the Netherlands, that’s a waste of time.” Riber expects that in the near future, fewer plants will be exported from the Netherlands to Scandinavia.
Scandinavia is the most important market for Riber. He still sells some products through the auction clock in the Netherlands, too. Riber noticed that green plants are very popular in Denmark and the rest of Scandinavia. “The current generation wants plants that are easy. Plants that tolerate a shady position and don’t require too much care.”