Over the last couple of weeks, many Danish growers had to deal with dark days. This was not beneficial for the development of their crop in the run-up to Mother's Day, celebrated in Denmark and other European countries last Sunday. "We could not meet the demand in the free market", says Danish potted rose grower Chris Andersen, owner of DanRoses. For them, the Mother's Day season is the most important season of the year.

Chris Andersen.

Not met demand
According to Andersen, 70 percent of their potted roses are usually sold before planting and the rest is sold on the so-called free market when they are finished. However, due to this year's weather conditions, they did not have that much plants left to put on the free market. "The weeks prior to Mother's Day were dark and rainy. This prevented the potted roses to develop and finish before the holiday. In turn, the retailers and garden centers in Denmark, our main market, that did not pre-ordered their plants did not get any plants.

Lack of sunlight
Usually, the production of potted roses takes about 7 weeks. However, if there is not that much sunlight, the development of the plant will slow down and artificial lightning is needed. Even though it speeds up the development, it is not as efficient as natural sunlight. "A week of artificial lightning of about 15 hours a day equals two to three good days of natural sunlight. We commonly use artificial lightning when there is no sun, however this year's sun hours were extremely low. As a result, some plants were not able to finish before Mother's Day."

Swedish Mother's Day
Are you satisfied with the Mother's Day sales? According to Andersen, it is too early to say if this year's Mother's Day was a success or not. There are still a lot of roses in the greenhouse, which are planning to be sold for Mother's Day in Sweden (May 28). The sales for the free market started this Monday, which seems to be a bit later than usual. "Sweden have had some very cold days and this is probably the cause for ordering later this year", says Andersen. According him, Sweden is a big market for many Danish Nurseries. "The country is quite close to Denmark, so the transportation costs are not so high. Besides that, the Swedish people, like many other people for other European countries, seem to be positive again as the financial crisis seemed to be over. Many industries, including the ornamental, was hit by this crisis. Everything was slowed down and now, everyone seems to be a bit more positive."

High demand but low prices
Andersen hopes that this positive mood will be translated into higher prices in the future. Even though, he cannot tell if this Mother's Day season was better or worse compared to last year, he is certain that the prices need to increase. "We recently moved to a larger greenhouse as the demand for our roses became increased sharply. However, we still have to deal with low prices." Since December 2016, Andersen is cultivating its potted roses in a larger greenhouse in Fyn. "TWe stated our production in 2015 in Aarhus with 14.000 square meter, and in last season we had around 20.000 square meter, located on two different Nurseries in Aarhus. Besides that we needed still more space and the distance between the greenhouses was too large (a 40 minute drive) for just one management." The new location in Fyn has a size of 25,000 square meter and over the past months, Andersen put a lot of money, time and effort in updating this greenhouse.

"Now, I hope to receive a little bit more for my products. And not only for my products, but for everyone in the ornamental industry", he says. Andersen sees opportunities to raise the prices of their pre-orders. "This Mother's Day, we have seen that several supermarkets could not get their plants if they did not ordered it in advance. This happening will, hopefully, encourage these supermarkets, but also the ones that are already pre-ordering, to order earlier next year and pay a little extra to be sure that they will receive enough plants on time, right quality and volumes."

For more information
Højgård Planteskole/Nursery
Chris Andersen
Email: chris@hoejgaardplant.dk