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A closer look at the Italian market

Yesterday, we published the photo report of the seventh edition of the Myplant & Garden, which was visited by 23,000 people, a record in the show's history. In this article, we take a closer look at the Italian market and its developments. 

Click here for the complete photo report.

So let's start with the breeders. What have we seen and heard at the show? From the breeders' side, we see that they are presenting varieties that are heat tolerant and can easily grow in hotter Mediterranean climates. Selecta one, for example, presented Tumbao. Striking about this pelargonium is the contrast of red flowers and dark leaves and that it survives in a hot climate, like Italy. The variety is becoming increasingly more popular, and more and more people are starting to know it by name, like Pink Kisses.
Team of Selecta one, with Tumbao

Several suppliers of pots and trays, machinery, automation solutions, fertilizers, and so on were at the show. What was striking here, besides that it has become more expensive? For substrates, we saw that the interest in peat-free options is increasing, like the peat-free growbags of Klassmann Deilmann.

Luca Antoniazzi of Klassmann-Deilmann presented Growcoon and, for the first time also, their peat-free growbag, which consists of 80% green fiber and 20% coco.

In pots and trays, several suppliers mentioned that the demand has slowed down a bit. This is probably because, on the one hand, growers may have stocked up before to make sure they had pots and trays, and on the other hand, because they planted less. The future demand from the growers will depend on how the demand from the customers will be during spring. And when looking at the larger projects of greenhouse building and automation, we hear that growers are a bit awaiting and not deciding to carry out large projects.

Henning Bruns of Poppelmann TEKU, presenting the TEKU range. They have been in the Italian market for more than 20 years.

So why are the growers awaiting? As said last week, like many growers in Europe, also the growers in Italy are dealing with the high energy prices. Fortunately, spring is around the corner, which means warmer temperatures and lower energy costs. And at the trade show, we heard mixed reactions regarding the demand. Also, at the show, the reactions from the Italian growers and several Dutch growers were mixed regarding the demand. Some growers were writing orders right away, whereas others noticed a lack of demand. Of course, it depends on the product type, but in general, we see a lack of availability and high prices due to the increased production costs. So let's look at the different sectors. 

  • Indoor plants: The orchid and the phalaenopsis, in particular, is the most popular flowering plant in Italy. A lot is being imported from the Netherlands, but this year, it is expected that the production will decrease by one-third. It is currently gradually decreasing and expected to decrease fast by May-June, so by the end of 2023, the real numbers will be visible.
  • Garden plants: The majority (about 70% we heard) of the garden plants that are grown by the Italian growers grow it for the spring season. The sales for spring will depend on what the grower will plant for autumn.
  • Flowers: And let's not forget the flowers, which are highly popular for weddings. At the show, the interest from florists was high, not only for the varieties but also for the presentations that were held. 

Jaap Moerman van Moerman Lilies and Warja Abrosimova of Dekker Chrysanten and Joan Petermeijer of Decorum. At the show, they were showing the Italian florist their assortment of flowers. In terms of flowers, the brand Decorum is becoming more known in Italy.

In many countries, we see an increasing demand for contract selling. However, for the Italian growers that are supplying their products nationally, it is quite a challenge because there are not so many large garden center chains. "Therefore, contract selling is more of a challenge. It is more something for the growers who export", an exhibitor told us. 

Mark van Dijk en Pieter Mol of Ludvig Svennson. First time at the Myplant was presenting ClimaFlow, among others. Also, in Italy, the interest in climate control solutions is increasing, they say.

So, how is the situation for retailers? Due to the high production costs, the prices of the plants and flowers for the retailers increase as well. The most popular plant is still the phalaenopsis, but as there is a lack of availability, demand for other products is expected to increase as well. 

Marco Orlandelli of Orlandelli (also President Consortium Myplant & Garden) with John Herbert of Global Home Improvement Network, Martina Mensing-Meckelburg of Verband Deutscher Garten-Center, Luca Gaudenzi of Made 4 DIY and Oliver Ginestier of Global Home Improvement Network, who were visiting the show.

The season for the spring crops is about to take off, but will the consumer be willing to pay higher prices for the plants? It is not expected to be as booming as it was in the pandemic years. Now, consumers seem to spend their money on other products. "The demand for plants decreased by 15%", an exhibitor told us.

Also interesting to notice is that consumers also buy plants that are categorized in Northern European countries as 'indoor plants,' like kalanchoe, and are planting it outdoors in the summer. 

Also, new varieties were on display. Andrea Lazzeri of Lazzeri presenting Amazonia, a complete interspecific Pelargonium series. Special about the variety is the dark leaves and bright colors.

Click here for the photo report of Myplant & Garden. 

2024 edition
The Myplant & Garden organizers are already starting to plan the next edition, scheduled for 21-23 February, 2024.

For more information:
Myplant & Garden