Geranium is one of the best-selling plants worldwide. Its image is not necessarily exclusive, but it is certainly special. Before the plant is ready for sale in garden centers and supermarkets, many people have already been involved in the process.
One of these people is Onno Boeren, a consultant at Green Products. As a consultant, Onno likes to look at the customer and the plant. The company is the producer of the GreenPlug - a paper pot, a shape-retaining plug that can be tailored to the individual wishes of the customer. Full of enthusiasm he talks about his role and the role of the GreenPlug in only a small part of the life cycle of a geranium.
"Before a geranium is placed on our GreenPlug as a cutting, much thought has already gone into the whole rooting process. When a new customer approaches us for a geranium, we naturally have a standard good plug and tray available for this customer. However, we go much further than this," says Onno. "As soon as a customer is interested in working with our plug, we plan a visit first. How is this potential new customer used to working? Are they a 'wet' grower, or are they a 'dry' grower? Do they want to be in control, or can the plug provide more buffer?"
When all these questions have been answered, Onno starts composing the mixture. "It is a challenge to put all the desired characteristics in a plug, but we have come a long way," says Onno. By mixing a large variety of different peat types or other raw materials such as perlite, coconut, or clay, you eventually come close to meeting the grower's wishes. Sometimes we are a bit stubborn: we listen especially to what the customer wants, and not only to what the customer says."
"For a number of customers with geraniums, we were also allowed to think along in the development of a new tray. To achieve the best possible results with our GreenPlug paper pot, it is important that the plug is placed in a good tray or cup. To be able to develop a tray, the numbers must be sufficiently large. With the knowledge that Green Products has built up over the years, a large number of trays have been developed that allow a young plant to develop in an even better and healthier way."
Because Green Products firmly turns the GreenPlug - paperpots, soil particles remain in place. During production, soil particles are placed on top of each other like building blocks. The capillaries remain intact through this method of filling. As a grower, you can therefore continue to water regularly, as the moisture drains away smoothly. Growing drier in the hardening off phase is made easy by the paperpots' enduring characteristics.
"Especially the zonal types like to stay drier from the first root phase onwards", concludes Onno. "You have to take this into account when choosing the soil mixture. The availability of calcium from the dolokal (powdered lime) is insufficient. Extra calcium salt is added as a stock fertilizer. A higher set pH is important."