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OptiPlug and Dijk van Dijk perfect the cultivation of hydrangeas

Looking for the perfect plug plant

Cultivation often begins with plug plants, and there is a ton of science involved in creating these little plugs. Every crop has its own ideas about what ideal germination conditions are, but all plants are vulnerable during the initial stage. This is when the root system is created, and in the tiniest plant the later characteristics are often determined, such as the number of flowers and fruits.

This is how it works for the hydrangea. "There is an additional requirement here that the cutting needs to take root in an "airy plug", says Bryan Koornneef, cutting specialist at Dijk van Dijk hydrangeas. "We spent a lot of time looking for the right proportions in the plug, while at the same time the requirements in the field of sustainability are becoming stricter."

Rico Scheffers and Bryan Koornneef, among the young plants in the greenhouse of  Dijk van Dijk.

Five years ago the solution was found in collaboration with Richard Scheffers from OptiPlug. Together they experimented with a number of plugs and ended up with the current version. "Now we're able to constantly make a uniform product with success. Customers want cuttings from Dijk van Dijk."

The combination of paper and the right substrate ensure optimal growth of the unrooted hydrangea cuttings. It is also important that it is produced with machines that can do this as “airy” as possible.

The work is never finished, there is always room for improvement. "Just now," says Rico Scheffers (son of, and co-owner of OptiPlug), "we received two new types of paper. Two types, which we think are even better and more sustainable for use in some crops. Creating a sturdy material that nevertheless leaves everything - roots, food, air - permeable and easily degradable, remains a challenge."

The plug is made of extremely thin material. As you can tell by the photo, it's almost impossible to see.

By using nine complete lines, OptiPlug is now one of the larger providers of plug plants. OptiPlug works with various soil mixtures from different suppliers. This allows them to choose the right mixture together with the customer. The wide choice of trays is also a big advantage of OptiPlug.

Dijk van Dijk is a major player in the hydrangea market. In addition to its own production, new varieties are cultivated and they supply about 6 million cuttings per year. They find their way to fellow Dutch growers and growers throughout Europe. In recent times, Dijk van Dijk, a family company that dates back to the 1920s, has also been in the spotlight with a striking advertising campaign, in which Robin van Dijk, donning a cap and beard, figures as master breeder.

For more information:
Lange Broekweg 5
2671 DR, Naaldwijk
T: +31 174 752444

Dijk van Dijk
Hooflaan 17
2678 KM De Lier
T: +31 174 51 25 91

Publication date: 7/6/2018



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