Covid-19 has certainly had a positive effect on the garden plant market. The world has acquired millions of new gardeners. We’re used to some growth each year, but the past two years have been explosive. We’ve increased our acreage by 5 ha in 1.5 years’ time.
We now have a total of almost 20 ha at our disposal and we still can’t keep up with the demand for shrubs. If we had more space and possibilities for scaling up, we could have increased our sales even more.
The main distribution markets for our shrubs are the USA, Canada, Europe and Asia. Almost all our products are sold under the brand name Proven Winners. We’ve seen the demand increase and supply fall short everywhere. But the speed at which the market has been growing during the past two years isn’t sustainable. The pandemic has been an enormous driver.
Hopefully, the millennials will continue to bring extra opportunities the coming years. It’s more and more common for them to live outside the city, they care about the environment, and they’re keen gardeners. Especially with this target group in mind, we breed and select plants that are easy to maintain and have longer flowering periods. A garden plant that flowers for three weeks is no longer acceptable to people. Easy plants that stay attractive for a long time – that’s the future, we believe.
Unfortunately, I haven’t been to the Netherlands since the outbreak of the coronavirus pandemic. I’m hoping to visit again this winter, and to go to IPM in Germany as well. There’s no other place in the world with so much knowledge and expertise of plants as the Netherlands. I have great respect for the quality and innovative strength of the Dutch growers and breeders. We wouldn’t have been able to develop varieties like our hydrangea paniculata Little Lime without the Dutch licensing rights for the hydrangea paniculata Limelight.