BLOG: grower report Verboom nursery
Kwekerij Verboom (Verboom Nursery) is a family business with a passion for Helleborus. Their variety ‘Verboom Beauty’ is a household name in the market, but they have lot of other attractive products available. Jos Verboom and his father Hans took the time to show us how they’re working all year round on growing the perfect winter flowering plants.
Tell us more about Verboom Nursery, and what products you grow that our customers might already know about?
My father started the nursery in 1960, I took over at the helm in 1998, and my son Jos is now the third generation working in this family business. We market Helleborus and Skimmia under the brand name ‘Winter Angels’. We supply no less than 47 different hellebore varieties, including the unique ‘Frostkiss’ range and, of course, our ‘Verboom Beauty’.
What does cultivating Helleborus involve?
For us, it involves a huge amount of work. We start at the very beginning, with breeding. We breed the plants in-house, and employ a breeder who works exclusively for us. We receive all the species we grow as tissue culture, which means we can be sure that we’ll end up with pure, uniform plants. Here at our nursery, we put the cultures in plugs ourselves. The plants then root in the plugs in a warm, moist greenhouse. We then transfer them to small pots, and move them to the next department. It takes at least 2 to 2.5 years before the plants are finally ready to be sold.
“I see myself as a coach of top athletes”
While we walk through the nursery, Jos lets us see and feel how well the plants are rooted. The drive to supply perfect plants can be quite extreme.
I see myself as a coach of top athletes. I make sure the nutrition is as good as possible, and growing conditions ideal. Cultivation is very labour intensive. We know exactly what’s best for the plants. It keeps us busy year round, even though our delivery season runs from November to March.
What makes the ‘Verboom Beauty’ species so special?
The Verboom Beauty is a truly unique product of the breeding programme, since it’s actually the only hellebore that will bloom well in the living room. Every plant has lots of buds, and every single one of them flowers. These flowers are strong and a beautifully bright white. This, in combination with the way we deliver these plants, has led to it becoming a success.
What is special about the way you deliver them?
We clean the pot, we water them one last time, then we carefully cut all the leaves away from each plant to make the flowers stand out. Flower arrangers and florists were the first to see the beauty and potential of this product. Today, lots of consumers enjoy making arrangements themselves, and the Verboom Beauty is a popular addition to the range sold in garden centres.
What do we need to know about your other Hellebore species?
The Helleborus orientalis is an ideal garden plant, known for its variety of colourful speckled flowers. We grow lots of species. The range is very popular, with Abigail and Cinderella the most popular types. Helleborus niger is the best-selling Helleborus before Christmas, as it starts flowering before the festive season. We grow Helleborus niger ‘Shining Star’, intended for the luxury segment. The plants are extremely hardy. While some niger species mainly produce a lot of leaves and few flowers, we believe this variety has the ideal leaf/flower ratio. We also grow Helleborus Frostkiss, a range for the luxury segment of the green retail trade. [see box on page 39]
What is your relationship with Javado?
We believe that everything you care for grows, and also applies to the care with which we treat our customers. We have to decide which customers we want to work intensively with, and Javado has proven to be an excellent choice. For example, Javado has managed to put the Verboom Beauty on the map in the UK.
What can we expect in the future?
As a relatively small family business, we don’t like to reveal too much about our latest developments, but here’s a sneak preview: Hellebore Sifra. Similar to the Verboom Beauty, but with dark pink flowers!
Published on: 21 January 2020