If you have ever visited the greenhouses at Nieuwkoop Europe you will undoubtedly remember the beautiful and large tropical plants that we have there. You immediately get the feeling that you have landed in a jungle. But where do all these beautiful species come from?
Countries around the equator, such as Cost Rica, often comprises more than 30% of protected rainforests. Half of all animal species in the world live in such rainforests and the Amazon rainforests alone account for 20% of our global oxygen! To prevent misunderstandings, it is important to know that plants do not come from protected areas like these.
Our large tropical plants mainly come from plantations from growers in Central America and Asia with whom we work closely together. In total, our colleagues spend 6 months a year abroad to buy our plants. Because we are looking for the best quality, we ourselves assess and import all our plants.
But not all plants come from plantations. We also import plants that have to make room for urbanisation, road construction or, for example, enormous temples. These species, formed by ‘mother nature’, have a unique appearance!
In order to import protected plant species, a CITES permit is required. For this purpose, various countries have made agreements which are laid down in the so-called CITES agreement. These rules must ensure that endangered animals and plants do not become extinct. A CITES export permit is issued by the approved authorities in the country of origin. In most cases a CITES import permit is also required, which is then issued by the country where the plants are exported to.
As soon as we have purchased the plants abroad, they are taken out of the ground with huge excavators and then placed in enormous culture pots. It takes approximately 6 to 8 months for a plant to reroot. As soon as the plants are strong enough, they are shipped by sea to the Netherlands. Depending on where the plants come from, this journey can take about 2 to 4 weeks.
Once the imported plants have arrived at our nursery, they are carefully tended and fully acclimatised over a period of one year before they are transported to the assigned project. This phase is very important to guarantee the quality and lifetime of our plants.