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Dutch grower finds new markets for lisianthus

The Russians like them two-tone, the Scandinavians in shades of blue, the British in light pink and the Germans in a variety of colours: lisianthus, also known as prairie gentian due to their origins in North America. With their slim, twisted leaf buds, they are one of the most attractive and finest cut flowers. Their broad blossoms are reminiscent of tulips while their daintiness brings poppies to mind. One of the world’s biggest nurseries specialising in lisianthus is Gebroeders Van der Lugt Lisianthus with branches in the Dutch towns of Honselersdijk and 's-Gravenzande. Every year, the company sells 40 million flowers to countries around the world. The most important buyers are wholesalers and florists. “But also an increasing number of wedding designers, event managers, hoteliers and retailers from different sectors”, says Marketing and PR Manager Jolanda Van der Lugt. Initial contacts to these new customers came via Christmasworld in Frankfurt am Main and are now being reinforced by the concurrent Floradecora, Order Fair for Fresh Flowers, Plants, Floral Displays and Ready Made Floral Arrangements.

According to Marketing Manager Jolanda Van der Lugt, the family-run company with its roots in vegetable and freesia cultivation decided to focus solely on growing this challenging cultivar around ten years ago. “Lots of experience, expertise and care is necessary to be able to offer a fine-looking product.” The company cultivates lisianthus flowers in sixteen attractive colours, on an area of 74,000 square metres the whole year round.
Moving from Christmasworld to Floradecora results in more customers and increasing sales figures
Jolanda Van der Lugt had the chance to speak with florists interested in this decorative flower when her company took part in a special event showing seasonal and festive decorations together with fresh flowers at Christmasworld 2016. Hence, deciding to take part in the premiere of Floradecora earlier this year was not difficult. “In the first year, we gained an impression that was confirmed by numerous florists.” They were helped in this not only by having their own exhibition stand but also by contacts to new customers made by sales partners such as FleuraMetz, Hamifleurs and OZ Export who also took part as exhibitors in the first edition of Floradecora.

The marketing expert was more than pleased with the reaction of visitors to the range of lisianthus flowers on show. “They were really enthusiastic and we achieved growth in terms of both sales figures and customer numbers.” For Jolanda Van der Lugt, Frankfurt is the right place to make a presentation with potential for growth with more visitors and more exhibitors. She gives two reasons for her positive assessment. Firstly, she believes there is a need for the new kind of market place offered by Floradecora. “There are not many flower fairs where customers can order directly and immediately. At Floradecora, they can see the goods with their own eyes and find out about the varied range of products we offer.” Secondly, she sees advantages from holding Floradecora concurrently with Christmasworld: “It gives florists and furnishing-store buyers the chance to order decorative materials and flowers at the same time and place. And they can see how flowers represent an ideal theme for every season.”

As a marketing expert, Jolanda Van der Lugt is particularly interested in promotional activities for lisianthus and, via social media channels and printed publications, she shows many of the varied and attractive ways of arranging lisianthus. She also draws attention to the potential of these delightful flowers via workshops for wholesalers. At the same time, however, she attaches particular significance to the direct, enthusiastic reactions of Floradecora visitors: “We came to Frankfurt with completely new cultivars – with bigger varieties and extraordinary examples, which fascinated people there.” With her company’s presentation at next year’s Floradecora, Jolanda Van der Lugt aims to build on the contacts made at this year’s fair.
The 360° tour of Floradecora 2017 at offers insights into the spectrum of products to be seen and who to contact. For inquiries about taking part in Floradecora, contact Martina Bullack on +49 69 7575-6466 or at

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