Belgian grower Bart Bostoen:

’The market is still too fragile to make major decisions’

What are you doing at the moment?
‘At the moment, we are producing our usual spring assortment, e.g. geranium, surfinia, verbena, and impatiens: typical garden and patio plants. Production is going according to plan, except for a minor setback in the last week of April, but things have been going well again since 1 May.’

Are you satisfied with the prices?
‘The season appears to be very steady without any extreme peaks, so the season isn’t short and sweet, but is lasting longer. Pricing is reasonable, with fair and stable prices, which has mostly been a result of the weather; the only week when prices weren’t as good was that cold week at the end of April.’

Who is buying your plants?
‘We mainly sell to Belgian and French wholesalers, as well as to garden centres. Part of our stock are sold through the clock of FloraHolland in Aalsmeer, and I sell some directly through the auction. I also sell some special offers via supermarket chains. Yes, my sales are nicely spread across various marketing channels.’

Will you attend FlowerTrials?
‘Yes, I try to do so every year. This year, I intend to go to Westland region to visit a few companies for fresh propagation material for some typical spring plants. I’m going there to enjoy the atmosphere and learn about new trends. I’m eager to see what’s new: what’s coming to the market.
The timing of the FlowerTrials is just perfect. It’s a little quieter in June, and you can admire all the plants in full bloom. FlowerTrials is more important for me than the IPM trade fair in Essen, if only because it’s impossible to show spring and summer plants in January. I prefer to visit IPM for getting in touch with buyers. At FlowerTrials, it’s all about testing flowers and learning about their cultivation.’

What about GreenTech?
‘I know about the event, but that’s all. I don’t really plan to go there. The GreenTech event is more about technology, and I don’t have any plans to invest or build anything new.’

Do you have special plans for the future?
‘That’s difficult to say. We’ll finish this season first and see what autumn has to offer. Times are still hard. Once we’ve survived this difficult period, then we can start looking to the future. The market remains erratic and unstable, and the crisis hasn’t passed yet. Once we’ve weathered the crisis, we will make plans for the future. For now, it’s too fragile to make any major decisions. This year has been okay so far, but it’s not over yet. Medals will only be awarded at the finishing line.’

Bart Bostoen
Company: Bostoen Bloemenkwekerij
Location: Staden (Belgium)
Specimen: potted plants and bedding plants like geranium, verbena, impatiens, cyclamen, and primula.