Special report: Plantipp
Meet Peter van Plantipp, and find out about an extra dimension in our profession. Plantipp is an important link in our chain, yet the company isn’t a breeder, grower or exporter. So, what’s the story? Read on and find out.
We first met Peter van Rijssen about 8 years ago after a hydrangea grower introduced us, The three of us wanted to make the beautiful new hydrangea ‘Miss Saori’ a success. And we did! We even won the prestigious 2014 Chelsea Flower Show award with this hydrangea. Since then, we’ve enjoyed being part of each other’s networks. On a drizzly December day, I arrange to meet Peter, and get some extra info about Plantipp.
Peter: “The best way to explain what we do is to start with something my father found out 30 years ago. He improved gerberas, and while the market was obsessing with ever-larger flowers, he improved a mini gerbera: the famous ‘Germini’. To cut a long story short, he trusted the companies he was working with, but promises weren’t kept. Germini was a massive success, but he didn’t get a penny of the millions made with it. To prevent this from happening to others, he founded Plantipp.
If you breed a new variety, we’d be glad to hear from you. We specialise in royalty management, licencing management, and promotion. Basically, we make sure that a breeder’s precious creation has every chance of success on the market, and that rights are protected and royalties paid. We do this work worldwide for succulents, shrubs, perennials, cut flowers and soft fruit.
it may sound all very corporate, but it’s actually an incredibly fascinating world full of passion and interesting people. Large breeders such as Dümmen Orange, Selecta and Syngenta are well known among most of the people in our branch, but there are also hundreds of small breeders. These are the people with an unparalleled passion for their work. We have a client in South Africa whose life’s work is to breed a pink agapanthus. He has been working on it for 15 years already, and not long ago I received a photo of a bunch of pink agapanthus flowers for the first time! Real innovation is often the product of those breeders who don’t worry about what others think and follow their hearts. This large group of small breeders and hobbyists produce the most surprising results.
My role at Plantipp is to be a pioneer and build bridges. I’ve met all kinds of people and studied a wide range of markets, so I’ve developed a keen eye for novelties with lots of potential. Unfortunately, that does sometimes mean that I have to say no to a new plant that I don’t find interesting enough.
I get a lot of satisfaction from my work. I’m proud of all the great novelties that we’ve introduced over the years. What I find particularly enjoyable is when a breeder’s creation becomes a success after years of persistence. I know people who’ve been able to build up their own great company as a result of a hobby, thanks to the royalties they receive for a successful product.
That’s the very reason why licencing is so important. You must never undervalue the work and costs needed to place a new variety on the market, so I find it disrespectful if growers try to avoid paying licences by illegally propagating plants themselves. That is also part of our work. We closely monitor whether the products we protect are grown illegally. We’ve already had to go to court on various occasions. This brings a lot of negativity, but it’s important that it happens.
We can help the breeder with more than just royalty management. Who takes care of the propagation of the starting material? Which growers have the best conditions to grow the product? In which countries? We can coordinate this entire process. We have a large network of growers that we work with, and the partnership with a company like Javado also helps to find the right grower and the right sales channel for a new product.
Last but not least, we also take care of promotion. Good promotion starts with quality photography and sound product information. This can easily be found on our website. We use free publicity intelligently. That’s also the nice thing about working with novelties; you can count on a lot of interest from the trade press. It’s ideal if a breeder has developed a new variety to which a new colour or variety can be added regularly, as it allows us to continually highlight the brand name.
Promotion varies from case to case. With the Mangave, for example, a marketing fee is included. The more Mangaves are sold, the bigger the marketing budget, and the more we can promote this product. This goes hand-in-hand with expanding the range, because there are still a few surprising Mangave varieties in the pipeline!
I hope that I’ve been able to paint a good picture of the world of Plantipp. Next time you sell a new garden plant, think about the person who spent years pollinating and testing with endless patience. I enjoy reading Javado Magazine, and I think it’s great that I’m going to be in it. Here’s another scoop just for you: A beautiful new Nandina will be launched in 2021, Nandina Red Light. It’s a must for all those who love colour in their gardens.
Published on: 20 April 2021