Recently, I’ve been on some inspiring tours around kalanchoe super houseplant nurseries, and it has opened my eyes to the efficiency and creativity that plant brands have adopted in order to bring their customers the best products at the best prices possible! I want to share with you what I found out about kalanchoe super houseplant nurseries, and what exactly goes on inside them…
Is kalanchoe-growing sustainable?
Plant growers are under close scrutiny when it comes to sustainability, and more and more customers want to know that they are buying plants with eco-friendly credentials. If this sounds like you, then you should consider kalanchoe!
These plants are sustainably grown in state-of-the-art greenhouses that are well-insulated and equipped with a whole host of eco-friendly measures, including:
- Efficient heating systems
- Energy-saving screen installations
- Computer-controlled climate management
Most industries have some degree of CO2 output, but kalanchoe growers actually use the CO2 that is released by industry. In addition, heat that is not immediately needed is temporarily stored for later use, and electricity that is not needed is put back into the grid. All of these elements contribute to reducing their carbon footprint.
When it comes to water usage, kalanchoe growers cultivate in a completely closed water system, using rainwater and reusing residual water. To protect the environment, no water or fertiliser is discharged into the sewer system or surface water, and the plants are grown in pots rather than in the ground, which prevents leaching.
Growers are always looking for peat alternatives for use in their substrate in order to prevent the destruction of peat bogs. Currently, the potting soil used to grow kalanchoe consists of 20-40% coco peat residue or compost.
There’s no need to worry about the use of chemicals nasties – kalanchoe are pest resistant with proper care and, where necessary, growers control pests with methods that have the lowest possible environmental impact or biological control with agents of natural origin.
Maintaining sustainability at home is easy. Kalanchoe are succulent plants that only require feed and water sparingly. In addition to their low maintenance nature, kalanchoe are beautiful, strong plants with a long life, meaning that you won’t need to replace them regularly – but if you do, they can just go in the compost or your green waste bin!
How super houseplant nurseries work
1. Pots are filled with compost, right to the brim.
2. Fresh cuttings potted by hand.
3. Each pot needs a plant passport next.
4. Next, it’s off to the nursery.
5. Travelling by train!
6. Here’s where plants grow, taking 8 weeks to flower.
7. Then, it’s back to the warehouse.
8. Each plant has its photo taken.
9. If they don’t have enough flowers, plants are sent back to the nursery.
10. Plants that are ready for the garden centre are given sleeves.
11. All packed into trays of 12.
12. Then they’re packed onto trolleys and sent to the garden centre.
For the supermarkets, large garden centres, and commercial outlets, producing in bulk really benefits from the use of machinery. However, this can only work for commercial gown varieties, ones that grow all the same height, have no branching, and all grow at the same speed.
However, this isn’t true for some of the more unique species, and that is where you’ll find nurseries that do a lot more by hand. I was very fortunate to visit one, and you can see from their nursery beds that some plants are in flower much sooner than others, and rather than discount this type of plant because it doesn’t flower uniformly, it is treated in a different way. Nursery workers must be more reactive, and choose plants by eye, which are then packed onto trolleys one by one. A few of the more unique varieties include magic bells, and tiger stripe.
Has this opened your eyes about how plants are made, and how they make their way from the grower to your home? Let me know what your thoughts are in the comments section! You can also find out which colour kalanchoes are most popular in which countries, here.
Michael has been involved with gardening and plants since he was just five years old. He is a self-professed Plant Geek, and was listed in the Sunday Times top 20 most influential people in the gardening world, thanks to his plant hunter role at Thompson & Morgan.
Michael was responsible for new plant introductions such as the Egg and Chips plant and the FuchsiaBerry and keeps busy travelling the world in search of new plants as well as lecturing worldwide, including stints in Japan. He is very active on social media – so why not give him a follow at @mr_plantgeek or Facebook. You can also listen to The Plant Based Podcast with Michael and co-host Ellen-Mary on iTunes, Spotify and Google.