Josef Heuger, Heuger-Gartenbaubetriebe:

'New hellebore varieties steal the show this Christmas'

"The early flowering newer hellebore varieties were in high demand", says Josef Heuger, owner of Heuger-Gartenbaubetriebe. Currently, this German hellebore and hydrangea breeder and grower is out of his hellebore stock that was planned to be sold for Christmas. And for the newer varieties, they were even in short supply this year.

On the left: Josef Heuger at the IPM Essen 2016. Above right: HGC Wintergold. Bottom right: HGC Jacob Classic.

Increasing popularity for new varieties
The hellebore assortment of Heuger consists currently of 55 hellebore varieties. We grow many hellebore varieties, from the traditional Christmas rose, to Lenten Roses, Snow Roses and our latest very successful new introductions the Ice N´Roses Series." The demand for the traditional varieties remains the highest, but the newer varieties seem to increase in popularity. "HGC Wintergold® is by far our number 1 variety among the traditional Christmas roses", he says. "This variety is on the market for a number of years and is still highly demanded." However, according to Heuger, the demand for these classic varieties is not increasing, but remains stable. This is in contrast to the demand for newer varieties. "These and especially the early flowering varieties are increasing in popularity and this year, we were even in short supply."

On the left: 'Ice N' Roses® White'℗, on the right: 'Ice N' Roses® Rose' ℗

Oversupply in lower end of market

Next to the differences in supply and demand for the different varieties, Heuger also experienced a difference in supply and demand between the hellebore in the higher and lower end of the market. "The demand for our hellebore varieties, which are meant for the higher end of the market, is stable for years. For this reason we did not increase the production. In the beginning of the season, however, the plants were a bit delayed in flowering, which led to a shortage. Afterwards, very strong demand at the end of November made up for sales missed at the beginning of the season. This, in contrast to the hellebore in the lower market segment. The growers in this segment are dealing with an overproduction. The supply is higher than the demand, which have put and is still putting the prices under pressure."

Heuger grows hellebore on about 10ha and are mostly supplied to the direct market. "This year, we have not sold one plant over the clock." Next to breeding and producing hellebore, Heuger is one of the 3 partners in the Hydrangea Breeders Association bv. and grows hydrangea young plants, pre-finished plants and finished plants in their, in total, 30 ha of greenhouse and outdoor production, that is located in Glandorf, North Western Germany. Heuger supplies young plants worldwide. Finished plants are sold through all of Europe, but the main focus lies on Germany .

IPM Essen
From January 24 till January 27, 2017, the IPM Essen will be held in the Messe Essen in Essen, Germany. Heuger will be present at this trade fair and is showcasing its varieties in Hall 1.0 Booth 1B21.

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