Starting this week, our customers will be receiving their Phalaenopsis plants in this plug. In combination with the cultivation system in its entirety, this provides numerous advantages not only to our customers, but also to the plants. Because the plants are sorted halfway through the process and immediately transplanted into 50-hole trays, the root points continue to develop and be active. This new plug system allows us to deliver plants that are much riper in comparison to when the old plug systems were used. When they get plants that are older, growers will be able to generate more output with regard to branches and flowers, while retaining the same through-put time. Of course, this also results in higher returns.
However, these are not the only advantages. ‘The plant is off to a better start because there is less chance of damage when transplanting plants grown in this new plug. The roots will grow better through the substrate because the plug is softer. Additionally, the new system allows plants to better accept organic crop protection methods. This is due to the binding agent used in this plug’, explains Dennis van de Wel, cultivation manager at Floricultura. ‘The crucial moment in propagating young plants is between 16 and 18 weeks. In competitive systems the roots will not get enough light and air after some time, which is detrimental to their health. This is exactly the moment that we sort the plants and transplant them to 50-hole trays. With the new system, the roots will be able to continue developing. This also results in greater uniformity. The new process allows us to deliver our plans at the age of 25-26 weeks, with fresh roots.’
The plug was developed by the van der Knaap Group in collaboration with Floricultura. ‘It was a complex and intensive project’, confirms Floricultura CEO Ronald van Geest. ‘This is not only a new plug. It also means that we are approaching the market in an entirely new way. What we envisioned when we started was that this system would lead to even better quality plants with higher branch percentages, and ultimately to higher returns for the grower – all endeavours in which we succeeded!’