Bedding plants increasingly popular
In any discussion of the Flemish ornamental plant sector, it is impossible to ignore the bedding plant sub-sector. The main bedding plants cultivated and traded in Belgium are Begonia, Petunia, Tagetes, Gazania, Impatiens, Salvia, Dahlia, Verbena, Helichrysum, Lobelia, Pelargonium, Viola and Dianthus.
Flemish begonia, unique in the world
Anyone cycling through the Ghent region in the summer months is guaranteed to pass by the colourful begonia fields. There are still around 18 family-run begonia businesses in Flanders, operating on a land area of some 60 hectares, and together they grow some 18 million tubers. A large number of these are exported. The United Kingdom is an especially important customer, but so too are America and Japan. Over the past few years, export to Central and Eastern Europe has also grown.
Seed selection businesses are continuously searching for new colours and shapes. Double begonias and the hanging varieties are particularly successful. Their beautiful blooms and long flowering period (from early summer to the first frost), broad colour palette and low maintenance mean that begonias are ideal for use in gardens, borders and patios. Their striking hues are stunningly showcased in the begonia carpets that are rolled out in Belgian cities and beyond from mid-August to mid-September. In particular, the begonia carpet on Brussels’ Grote Markt is famous around the world.