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"The Plants need warmth"

GER: Extreme additional costs for nurseries

Künzell/Ebersburg, East Hesse - In some cases, 300 percent higher heating costs - garden centers in the region are reporting an enormous price increase for heating their greenhouses with oil and gas. Savings are not realizable since the plants would need constant warmth for their growth. Waiting for warmer temperatures to start growing is not possible due to long lead times. In addition, there is enormous price pressure from the competition.

Jörg Weimer, managing director of Blumen Weimer in Künzell, describes the situation as a disaster in view of the extreme rise in gas prices: "I have 300 percent more costs." For the necessary heat of 16 to 18 degrees Celsius for the growth of the plants, he says, he has to run the heating system day and night. Despite the gas price cap, he says, that means costs that quickly rise above 100,000 euros for an area of several hundred square meters. "How are we supposed to pass that on to the flowers? We can't," he makes clear. In the worst case, that would mean the end for many local nurseries in the region. Simply passing on the increased prices to customers is not possible, he says, because customers would decide against buying flowers if they were a luxury item. "We started production 14 days later than usual to save on heating costs," Weimer says. However, he cannot turn down the temperatures: "The plants need warmth."

Raising plants for spring sales is already underway, the general manager indicates. These include 70,000 spring bloomers and 50,000 vegetable plants. For the coming weeks, the general manager hopes for less rain and frost: "The temperatures are good. Only the sun is missing. We are in the starting blocks." Especially for the Easter business, daffodils and cut flowers, for example, are currently being prepared for sale, he said. "We don't stop production until mid-April," Weimer said. He does not have capacities for additional events such as the state horticultural show or the princely garden festival: "We concentrate on our business as a wholesaler, even for competitors."

Andrea Becker, the owner of Blumen Krug in Weyhers, East Hesse, also reports similarly increased prices: "It's not just energy, all production costs, potting soil and much more, have gone up, 35 to 40 percent from now on." With the enormous pressure of competition with other suppliers, such as larger supermarket chains, she says she cannot pass this increase on to customers. That means a significant financial burden, she said. "I need 45,000 liters of heating oil over the year for the greenhouse. That's where every cent makes itself felt," Becker summarizes. Heating less, he says, is not possible for ideal plant growth. "The situation is much more difficult than it was a year ago," she adds. The owner explains that 75 percent of the plants are produced and grown directly on site: "The Easter business is already in the starting blocks, we started already in the fall." The assortment ranges from vegetable and herb plants to classic spring and summer florals. Becker also provides flowers for the state horticultural show, she says.

Source: Osthessen Zeitung

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