As ever more plant production moves into greenhouses and growrooms, the issue of plant vitality arises. Growers wish to grow plants that are as strong as possible for superior appearance and better shelf life.
Dutch grower JHL Potplants is no exception. This family-run business grows potted gerbera since 1985. In order to gain market prominence they had to differentiate their product in a highly competitive market with slim margins. Company CEO Hans Lekkerkerk says: “We decided to differentiate our product with, amongst other points, a higher level of plant vitality. By allowing our plants to grow stronger, we can ship our living plants from Holland deep into Siberia and into northern Iraq. That trip takes 6 days in a transport truck. Our plants arrive fresh and vital.”.
In order to achieve that high level of plant vitality, JHL Potplants implements a variety of innovative technologies during the production phase in their greenhouse. In terms of climate management and also in terms of substrate management. Lekkerkerk: “One of the exciting things we do to make our plants stronger is that we supplement the light our plants receive every day with a tiny dosage of UV light. You see, in any greenhouse whether that be glass or plastic, the natural UV light from the sun is blocked out by the cover and is usually not supplied by grow lights either. Plants in the greenhouse suffer from a chronic shortage of UV light. So, we give the plants a daily dosage of UV light as a sort of food supplement.” Lekkerkerk continues: “We have been doing so successfully since 2010. A daily application of this form of UV light reduces the occurrence of diseases in our greenhouse, and it increases the dry weight percentage of our plants. Both are important parameters of plant vitality”.
The supplier of the lamps, Arne Aiking of CleanLight, adds: “This is a successful family-business since 1985. They monitor the growth of their plants carefully. We are grateful that they are willing to share their positive experience for the benefit of fellow horticulturalists around the globe”