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Meilin Beirer, Zunino Cactus
No middle of the road for the cactus
Cacti and succulents are grown in the greenhouse of Zunino Cactus. The farm operates in Taggia, an important part of the horticultural district of Sanremo on the Riviera dei Fiori, well known from antiquity to today for its mild spring climate for much of the year.
The demand for succulents and cacti is increasing. These products have now also been discovered by large companies like Ikea, supermarkets and discounter shops, and still more shops are including them in their assortment. According to Beirer, there are several reasons for the popularity of this plant. "First of all, they have become 'fashion items' as they are more often used by architects and portrayed in interior magazines. Secondly, they are easy to care for and they last longer than cut flowers or other plants that need more light, water and so on. Furthermore, they have an 'accessible' price and on top of that, they are easy to transport too.
Either large or small
And cacti or succulents either need to be large or small nowadays. "Our most popular products are Euphorbia Eritrea in big pots, the Grusonii in big pots and a mix of cacti and succulents in little pots." According to Beirer, the trend goes toward little plants for the “uncomplicated” costumer as it is a cheaper plant and easy to find in supermarkets or discounters and the larger plants are more often used as decoration in commercial buildings like hotel lobbies, banks and offices.
Large assortment, new varieties needed?
Covering an area of 100,000 square meters with fully equipped iron and glass greenhouses, Zunino annually produces over 4,000,000 cacti and succulents, in hundreds of varieties and with more than 100,000 Euphorbia Eritrea. Zunino can be considered one of Europe's largest manufacturers of these types of specimens. And with such a large assortment, is innovation and introducing new varieties still necessary? According to Beirer, as there are so many varieties, there are not that many requests for new varieties. But still, this Italian grower tests new varieties every year.
Small cacti varieties
Next month, from November 2-4, 2017 the IFTF will be held in Vijfhuizen, the Netherlands. For the first time Zunino is participating at this fair. "It’s our fist time at the IFTF, colleagues spoke well about this fair. We export to wholesalers and garden centers in Italy, France, Netherlands, Germany and Denmark. By participating in the IFTF, we hope to increase our contacts and expand our markets." Zunino can be found at booth number B3.33.
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