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"Marien Kuijntjes, Van Helvoort Chrysanten: "a highly cuddly flower"

Netherlands: Van Helvoort Chrysanten pioneering with Green Trick

Van Helvoort Chrysanten has been cultivating 2.5 ha of Green Trick since the beginning of this year. As it is a completely different flower than the chrysanthemum - a summer bloomer, hardly comparable in terms of cultivation, and one year-round production is still truly pioneering - this is an adventurous enterprise. Also, the Green Trick is grown nowhere else on a comparable scale and in comparable numbers - 20 to 30 thousand per day is normal(!) This has not gone unnoticed in the market. Marien Kuijntjes works at the company and talks about recent developments.

Marien Kuijntjes, photographed at the FHTF

Cuddly flower
"The main reason for starting with the Green Trick lies in its appearance. It is a very beautiful product. Everyone always wants to touch it, it has something sweet and soft about it. A certainly cuddliness, we say here. But until recently it was so special that it was actually only used in exclusive flower arrangements. The second reason is that we want to make this product larger, so it can be made available to more consumers. A third reason is that we distinguish ourselves with this and we are confident that we have sufficient knowledge and skills available to make this a success."

The crop in the greenhouse

The market is small and exclusive, but left and right you see an increasing interest. The acreage has doubled in the last few years, from about 4 to 8 ha. There are between 10 and 15 growers who grow the flower. Marien: "Most of them maybe have a meter or 1000, or perhaps a bit more, but that's it. The reason for this is primarily an economic one. Cuttings are expensive, cultivation is long and laborious and it is also a big investment. This is not something you just try out; you have to be really sure. The Green Trick is a perennial, it stands for one and a half to two years, and because so far no one has dared to grow it on this scale, there’s a good chance of running into something unexpected." She continues: “Especially in the beginning this happened regularly. We learn every day. That’s also one of the things that makes this so nice: walking a new path, pioneering, doing something new."

Lamps on, windows open
The Green Trick is actually a summer flower and also appears as such on the clock. Still, this categorization is not quite right. As said, cultivation is slow and intense. "We have often had to adjust our estimates in terms of time and planning. Usually this meant that things took a bit longer. Also, chrysanthemums are a warm growth and the Green Trick has much less need for high temperatures. So the windows are often open, even if it is cold outside. At the same time, the Green Trick again requires a lot of light, because without it it is not possible to get that beautiful sphere. In winter it gets a bit too cold and cultivation slows; in the summer it is necessary to constantly air. So lamps on and windows open."

It is also very labor-intensive. Cutting must be done 4 to 5 times, and in the course of time the plant does not provide fine branches anymore and has to be pruned to 10 cm above the ground. Then cleaning takes place and the process starts all over again. This cycle is repeated 3, maybe 4 times. One and a half to two years later, the plant is through and it's time for new cuttings.

Marien: "We get a lot of positive and curious reactions, but sometimes also the accusation: ‘you’re making it too big, you could be destroying the market!’ But that's not true. We want to bring the product to the widest audience possible. That this does something with the clock price, is understandable, and the mid-price has indeed gone down. But it's a matter of supply and demand: more demand, we suspect, will push the price up again. In addition, we try to control distribution through fixed lines as much as possible. Finally, we of course see opportunities and hope that this new product will strengthen our position in the marketplace."

For more information:
Van Helvoort Chrysanten
Marien Kuijntjes
Molenkampsweg 15b
5306VN Brakel
T: 0418677155
M: +31646352710
E: [email protected]

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