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Laurica Plants

Laurica
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Laurica Plants is a nursery specialising in bay plants that only grows and sells topiary bay plants in a wide range of shapes and sizes. Thanks to the choice of always starting from cuttings, Laurica Plants offers very high-quality and uniform products. In addition to bay plants, the nursery’s range also includes more hardy alternatives.

‘The quality of our products and smooth service are our core values. From cuttings to the end product, we treat our plants with the utmost care.’ Marian Maenhoudt – Manager

From passion to international market leader
Laurica Plants is a family business that was founded in the nineteen seventies by horticulturalists André Devisch and his wife Annie Seys. Initially they grew lettuce and tomatoes, later they switched to other crops such as bedding plants and heather. Since 1985 the company has focussed mainly on growing Laurus nobilis. André learned the ropes at one of the few remaining bay plant nurseries and he became increasingly passionate about growing bay plants. What was created by his passion has developed into a specialised bay plant nursery and international market leader in high-quality bay plants.
Today, the children and their partners are also active in the company. Elie and Marian, Sybiel and Tom are helping to further develop Laurica Plants. As a result, Laurica Plants is and firmly remains a family business.

Range
‘Laurus nobilis is our speciality; we offer a very wide range of shapes and sizes. The customer can choose the desired pot size per 5 to 10 cm. We have plants aged from 2 to 100 years old, that are all sold already shaped, and we even have the largest collection of old bay trees in Europe’, Marian says proudly. ‘We also offer a wide range of shapes, ranging from the most popular pyramid, ball on a stem or ball on a pot, to the more exclusive shapes such as twisted, plaited, heart-shaped or columns.’

For a few years now, Laurica Plants has also offered alternatives for bay plants. ‘We noticed that after a few harsh winters, our customers became increasingly interested in alternatives for bay plants. That’s why we extended our range with more hardy plants. For example, Prunus lusitanica, Prunus otto luycken, Eleagnus ebbingei and Quercus ilex. Together, they currently represent around 3% of our production. We are following the rhythm of the customer to expand these alternatives as necessary. We call on fellow producers for these alternatives. But the plants that we buy elsewhere are kept at our company for the time necessary to cultivate them in accordance with our own quality standards.’

Cuttings: guarantee for quality
All Laurica Plants’ bay plants are propagated and cultivated at their own nursery on a surface area of around 20 ha. ‘To guarantee the superior quality, we cultivate our plants from cuttings. Even if plants grown from cuttings grow more slowly, their leaf size, shape and smell are far more even’, emphasises Marian. ‘Their less dense root system also means that they fare better in a pot or tub, so that they can be kept for longer. What’s more, bays grown from cuttings are better suited to being shaped and they keep their shape better.’

Sustainability
‘Laurica Plants aims for sustainable horticulture. As a member of VMS, we pay attention to the impact that certain actions can have on the environment and on society. Within the MPS qualification system, we achieve an A+ certificate. For example, we are very aware of our water and energy consumption. We water our plants as efficiently as possible. Larger plants are watered individually, smaller plants are sprayed. All our excess water is filtered, and together with rainwater we collect it in our cellar that can stock no less than 4 million litres of water’, illustrates Marian. ‘In addition, we have invested in solar panels so that our electric watering cars, water pumps and also our winter activities can run on green electricity.’

Export
‘Around 80% of our turnover is destined for export; the United Kingdom is by far our most important market,’ says Marian. ‘Since our climate is similar to that of our neighbouring countries, are plants are well adapted to their weather conditions. Bay plants from more southern production areas, however, tend to experience temperature shocks if they are sold here. The customer then has to be patient before those plants are back in optimum condition.’

Laurica quality certificate
‘Each plant is given final care before it leaves our company. We have made significant investments for this so that the last treatment can occur smoothly and efficiently. We manually remove any weeds, prune it one last time, give it a little extra water, wash the pot and finally apply a label & certificate. And to prevent damage during transport and handling, all the bay plants on a stem are given suitable protection for the stem’, Marian summarises. Laurica Plants makes the extra quality of the plants clearly visible with the recognisable orange bay plant certificate. ‘All the plants sold under our Laurica Plants label after all enjoy the guarantee that we have carried out intensive quality control during the growing and cultivation process. It also provides our end customers with useful care tips’, Marian concludes.

Company in figures

  • Employees:

    • 4 managers

    • 5 permanent workers

    • Half a dozen seasonal workers (who work at the company for 8 months a year).

  • Company surface area: 20 ha

    • 10 ha container field in the open air

    • 2 ha in an unheated glasshouse (frost-protected)

    • Other: planted in pots in the ground

  • Export:  80 % of the turnover

    • United Kingdom: 70% of the export

    • Other destinations: 30% (Germany, Netherlands, France, Austria, Switzerland, Ireland, Denmark and others).