Anne Dekker and Jacco Huibers, Amigo Plant;

Take a look inside the greenhouse of a Dutch succulent grower

Amigo Plant once started as a tomato grower, but has now been a major player in the succulents market for years. "Growing succulents was always a hobby of company owner Gerard van Langen," says Sales Manager Jacco Huibers. "In the late nineties, when tomato cultivation was tough, he quickly decided to make his passion his work. In our greenhouses here in Heerhugowaard, the Netherlands, you can still see the past: the pipes are still there and we have hung the growing gutters a bit higher, to also put plants there."


Jacco Huibers and Anne Dekker holding the two nominations for the Glazen Tulp awards [Glass Tulip]

The first plant with which Amigo Plant made a name for itself, was the Peperomia Happy Bean. This plant’s popularity is declining and the Echeveria, now the largest plant in the range, has replaced it. In addition, the number of species has been constantly expanded and the grower now produces over 60 varieties. Some eight years ago they began dyeing plants, first in a few basic colors and now in the most fantastic combinations and creations. In this they were the first. The paint and the technique of painting were also developed in-house.


A look in the greenhouse. "The trays get a new color every time, because the plants stay in them during dyeing."

Saleswoman Anne Dekker: "There’s always a lot going on and new things being invented. That's one of the things that make it so much fun to work here." That first bit is not exaggerated. As well as at the nursery in Heerhugowaard, growing is being done at six other locations, including in Portugal. Cuttings are obtained in Kenya. All plants are distributed, packed and given added value from the nursery in Heerhugowaard. Huibers: "Everything is kept in-house: from the production of the cuttings to transport to the auction or the customer. But also the creation of new compositions, dyeing and coming up with new concepts all come from our own ranks."


The cuttings come from Kenya in boxes


The 'Glowing Star in the Dark.’ Plants are checked for proper application of the various paint components before shipment, by putting them under a blue light to see if they 'work'.

Amigo Plant is no longer the only one dyeing plants, but they are the largest. The technique and materials utilized according to them are all safe for humans and the environment. One of the innovations was the introduction of the glow-in-the-dark concept: an Echeveria with a special paint that glows in the dark.




A wondrous interior: on the one hand you're in a greenhouse, on the other hand visitors can imagine themselves in Mexican spheres.

Cultivation
In the cultivation of succulents, sufficient light is of particular importance. One of the reasons for the nursery in Portugal where, especially in winter, conditions are better, and for using cuttings from Africa. Also, succulents need some time outdoors to harden. This can be done by putting them out physically or like the cabrio-greenhouse allows for on-site, by completely opening the roof.


The two nominees for the Glazen tulp: the West Jogoo left, the ‘Paint Your Plant’ concept on the right.


This section of the greenhouse currently houses several species, but they will soon be moved in favor of the yellow Kalanchoes.

Developments
Soon an internal renovation will be initiated, renewing the packaging and processing space and further expanding the Mexican ranch; the special style in which the spaces for offices and receiving relationships have been built. In addition, they are busy marketing the new paint-your-plant concept and preparations are already being made for Easter. Huibers: "For Easter we traditionally produce large numbers of yellow Kalanchoes. Because the holiday falls very early this year, other plants already have to give way - but that’s not so clear-cut, because there is also a spike in sales for Christmas. So it’s always buzzing here in Autumn."

For more information:
Amigo Plant
Jan Glijnisweg 4
1703 RL Heerhugowaard
Anne Dekker, Sales
E: anne@amigoplant.nl
Jacco Huibers, Sales
E: jacco@amigoplant.nl
www.amigoplant.nl

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