Kwekerreportage: Sjaak van Schie

Before I’ve even had time to take off my coat and grab my notepad, Mike van Schie has already explained that besides growing Hydrangeas, his nursery breeds plants and supplies cuttings both internally and to other hydrangea nurseries around the world. In fact, they’ve just won the prestigious AIPH Grower Of The Year Award for best young plants producer. Fortunately, he realises that he’s getting a bit carried away with the chatter, and says,  ‘Sorry, I need to slow down a bit. Have a seat, how about a cuppa?’


First of all; where might Javado customers know the Sjaak van Schie nursery from?

We supply you with a varied range of indoor hydrangeas in 14-cm pots and garden hydrangeas in 23-cm pots. Our products are identified by our Hy-pe brand. Consumers who buy our durable plants will enjoy them for a long time to come. Our best sales segment is the specialist trade, which is why we’re so happy that Javado is our partner. We’ve arranged a competitive seasonal price for the garden hydrangeas with Javabo, to boost the numbers sold to customers with a passion for plants.


So you’re real hydrangea specialists?

We’re fierce believers in the power of working together. To become a hydrangea specialist, you need specialists. We managed to fulfil our desire to breed our own plants by setting things up with The Mastergrowers, an experienced hydrangea grower. HiBreeding, our joint cultivar development company, was founded thirteen years ago.

Our principal goal in cultivar development is to excel in the basic range. Our varieties take Hydrangeas to a higher level. They have to be strong, flower for a prolonged time, and have an extended shelf life on the shop floor. And there’s one thing we’re really strict about; our species have to be strong enough to go through life without needing the support of stakes. Now this goal has been achieved, we’re extremely happy with our basic range. The plants radiate quality, and we save an enormous amount of work and material by not having to use stakes.

Following this success, we focussed on a second goal with plant breeding; developing very special varieties, such as hydrangeas that flower for a very long time and varieties with unique colours. A number of unique varieties are already available for commercialisation.


And I believe another part of the company produces young plants?

That’s right, cast your mind to our magnificent nursery in Portugal, where we’ve shared our expertise and established a great business. We cultivate unrooted cuttings on an area spanning over 20 hectares, which we sell to nurseries worldwide. We also produce rooted cuttings, known as plugs, to sell to nurseries in Europe. Lastly, we cultivate half-grown plants, which we ship in pots back to our location in the Netherlands and a number of other nurseries. The nursery in Portugal is modern, sustainable, and run by talented people.


Are there advantages to being an all-in-one breeder, young plant supplier, and grower?

We’ve noticed that our growth has been consistently rapid. For example, if cultivar development produces a new variety, growers that start cultivating it have to accept a certain amount of risk. What that cultivation will entail is not an exact science at this stage, and it can be difficult to sell new varieties. However, we can shoulder the risk ourselves and introduce new species, then show other growers how good the product is and provide cultivation tips. Conversely, we also learn a lot from other growers. We have lots of contacts in the world of Hydrangeas, and we’re aware of what’s in demand and what’s at stake.


What trends are popular at the moment?

Pastel colours have been popular for some time, and now we’re also observing a growing demand for the colour purple. But what’s unusual about Hydrangeas is the persistent popularity of the classic colours. I think the reason is because it’s a seasonal plant, and the characteristic pink, blue, red and white flowers evoke the most emotions.


You have a large company which is active in many areas, how is it organised?

My dad Sjaak van Schie is the bedrock of the business, of course. He really enjoys working together and sharing what he knows. We don’t just want our plants to grow; we want our people to grow too. We invest a lot of time in our staff in the Netherlands and Portugal.

My brother Roel is operational director, and ultimately responsible for quality, among other things. I’m the commercial director and responsible for the sales team and the sale of both young plants and flowering plants from our nursery. Our Portuguese colleague Fidélio has just become general manager after a period of working intensively with my father. My dad is now a consultant, a role that fits him like a glove.


Hy-pe Original and Hy-pe Unique

The Hy-pe logo on a hydrangea identifies it is as a plant supplied by the Sjaak van Schie B.V. nursery.

The Hy-pe Original includes the red, white, blue, pink and purple lacecaps and mopheads hydrangeas. These are the original, beloved hydrangeas, but incredibly strong and without the need for stakes.

Hy-pe Unique includes special varieties, such as hydrangeas with double flowers or multi-coloured flowers.


HiBreeding species

Hi stands for Hydrangea Innovation. All the varieties we breed in-house are remarkably strong, support themselves without stakes, and are identified by a name that starts with “Hi”.


Some new special species:

Hi Island

Hi Island is a new name well worth remembering. The flowers are elegantly formed, the plants are extremely strong, but above all the flowering time is amazing. This plant can easily bloom for 150 days.

Hi Diamond

The display of colours in Hi Diamond, as it transforms from white and pink to a solid pink during the season, is stunning.

Hi Moon

The coloured edges of Hi Moon’s flowers, set against the dark leaves are spectacular. This is a very resilient variety.


Re-Blooming makes life easy for the consumer

A hydrangea regulates its bud formation through genetically-determined hormones. These hormones are often lost if a hydrangea is pruned. The only way to guarantee that flowers reappear in the following season is to prune at the right time.

However, some varieties have an abundance of hormones, and can be pruned at will.

Most HiBreeding varieties have this extremely useful characteristic; guaranteed flowering pleasure.


The earliest panicled Hydrangeas

A number of varieties of panicled Hydrangea are grown entirely at the nursery in Portugal. They are transported to the nursery in the Netherlands just before they bloom. Thanks to this method, Sjaak van Schie B.V. has managed to create its own niche in the market by supplying flowering panicled Hydrangeas from weeks 17 to 24.

Published on: 6 May 2024