The rising energy costs are no joke. All across the world, growers fight to keep their businesses running due to the increased cost of gas and electricity. And it’s not just the growers who are hurt by these increases; the whole market is influenced. A trend is making way for opportunities in sustainable breeding: a cost-saving and environmentally friendly solution for many.
Jef Gielis met de Sempervivum Arctic White
“We are very much aware of the need for energy-saving tactics and varieties, especially at times like these. One of the growers that have focussed part of their business efforts towards this ever-growing trend is Belgicactus in Belgium.”
Sempervivum Arctic White
The Gielis family owns the succulent nursery in Westerlo, currently the market leader in Belgium regarding the cultivation of Sempervivum and indoor succulents. Jef Sr., Jef Jr., and Jan Gielis are the founders and driving forces behind Belgicactus and their famous brand: Fabulous Fat Friends. “Our breeding program has focussed on resistant varieties with a strong root system from the start,” Jef explains. “We’ve experimented with several species and ended up with hundreds of thousands of seedlings – selecting not only the most good-looking but the strongest and most resistant varieties to continue our program.” After years of breeding, the first super-strong and handsome Sempervivum came to be: Sempervivum Arctic White.
The results speak for themselves. The Sempervivum bred by Belgicactus, such as Coconut Crystal and Coral Red, are extremely hardy and are famous for their strong root system. “We want our succulents to be strong enough to survive all weather conditions: scorching sun, heavy rain, and freezing winters. That’s one of the reasons we grow them outdoors only.”
But not only the Belgicactus Sempervivum are strong enough to survive being grown outdoors. Varieties such as Lavandula Sensational! and Phenomenal are famous for their strength, resistance, strong root system, and beautiful blooms. Ideal varieties for sustainable breeding efforts that also satisfy the consumer’s need for environmentally friendly grown products.
Jens Meyer Jungpflanzen has propagated this variety for many years. Jens Meyer:” We cultivate our Lavandula types after rooting outside on our container fields. The advantage is that the young plants in P9 grow more compact and healthier than when cultivated inside. We’ve never had any winter damage with this variety. In early spring, the Phenomenal leaves still look fresh and blue-silver. The plants start growing with many big flowers when the temperatures rise.”
Text & photos: Plantipp