Vitro Plus has been propagating ferns for over 31 years, but the company has grown rapidly, especially in recent years. This led to the construction of a new large building, where work is already getting done. At the moment, the finishing touches are also being made to a renovation of the pavement around the existing buildings and the construction of sufficient parking spaces for employees.
"We started with the propagation of tropical living room ferns. Over the past ten years, we also started working with outdoor ferns, in which we see huge potential. There is a growing interest in outdoor plants and our way of production really appeals to our customers. Hence the new building," says Ellen Kraaijenbrink, Sales & Marketing at Vitro Plus.
A cold greenhouse
The tropical indoor ferns that Vitro Plus mainly propagates must also be cultivated under tropical conditions. This requires a lot more gas than growing outdoor ferns that you can put in a colder place - an interesting characteristic considering the current energy crisis. Ellen: "Indoor ferns can also be placed a little colder, but if it gets too much, they stop growing. Very young plants should be kept at between 22 and 24 degrees Celsius. The larger plants should not be colder than 16 degrees. We looked at which tropical ferns could be kept a bit colder, but also which outdoor ferns could possibly be grown in the greenhouse or a greenhouse without heating."
Ellen remarks that some growers are interested in switching to outdoor ferns since some of their customers are considering such a switch or have already made it.
The outdoor fern market
Vitro Plus now has 70 types of outdoor ferns in its product range and is still expanding. "We sometimes send samples to regular customers to introduce them to this other part of our assortment. If they are impressed by it, they will likely also convince their own customers, which is often the case. If it really is different from the other products they sell, the new products basically sell themselves."
However, some of the customers are also rather conservative when it comes to new products. "For example, we see customers who keep coming back for the same five varieties. They don't want ferns they aren't familiar with. This is also due to the mindset of their customers. For example, the supermarket chains they supply always ask for the same varieties."
Visiting trade fairs and showing the product range is therefore important for the marketing of Vitro Plus in America, which is something they will focus on even more in the coming year.
"We want to visit more fairs next year, especially those that are more in line with the world of outdoor cultivation, both here and abroad. It is, of course, a completely different story in terms of ferns. In Florida, for example, you can also put your indoor ferns outdoors because of the warmer climate. It can differ per continent, and we have to be able to respond to this."
In January 2023, Vitro Plus will be present at the Mants Show in Baltimore, Maryland, TPIE in Tampa, Florida, and IPM Essen in Germany.
Vitro Plus will again attend Cultivate in Columbus, Ohio, in July.