Meet the grower
The story behind Hortensia France
Did you know that a hydrangea flowers on one-year-old growth? That means that the plant is at least a year old before it produces flowers. So the initial phase of a Magical’s life is very important. Hortensia France, a nursery in France, focuses entirely on producing these plants that are not quite ‘ready’. Hortensia France thereby lays the foundations for extravagantly flowering Magical Hydrangeas. We talk to co-owner Thomas Eveleens.
300 km south-west of Paris in the direction of Nantes is where you can find Hortensia France: a large nursery focused entirely on these part-grown hydrangeas. Good part-grown plants ultimately give the best plant structure and flowers. Every year, some two million of these hydrangeas grow under the French sun. Hydrangea growers buy these part-grown products in order to finish cultivating them into fabulous flowering plants.
Large and young business
“We are a dynamic family business,” explains Thomas on a warm afternoon in May. “Quality is our top priority, and we constantly seek to improve our processes. We thereby involve our employees in everything that we do. That keeps everyone engaged.” And that’s important with some 25 employees.
200,000 square metres of hydrangeas
“During our peak season, in the spring, we have some 100 people working here in multiple locations. To paint you a picture: we have five production locations and two cold store locations with more than 5,000 square metres of cold storage. Our covered greenhouses, in three locations, together cover over three hectares, and outdoors we grow hydrangeas on more than 20 hectares.” In layman’s terms, that’s some 200,000 square metres.
Magical Amethyst favourite
Of all those hydrangeas, approximately half are Magicals. “We export 90% of our Magical Hydrangeas. These plants particularly go to the Netherlands and Norway, but also to the United Kingdom and Germany. We supply almost all the Magical varieties in the range.” Asked about his favourite, Thomas comes up with two cherished varieties. “I find the Magical Amethyst Red garden hydrangea very beautiful. It’s not the easiest plant to grow, but the colour of the flower more than makes up for that. The Magical Greenfire is also a favourite.”
Why a Magical
A plant that is popular throughout Europe must be very special. Thomas says: “It’s particularly the colour and the lifespan of the flowers that make the Magical stand out. All the Magical varieties bloom for a long time, and the Magical Revolution stands head and shoulders above even that. The plant also needs less water.” Yet another reason to choose a Magical!