Can Peat-Free Lavender Substrates work?

In the heart of the Dutch horticultural sector, Lavendel Plus have emerged as a leader in sustainable lavender cultivation. Jiffy are an important partner in the nursery’s journey, thanks to our innovative, high-quality growing media. Lavendel Plus are now in their third year of rigorous trials of peat-free substrates for lavender.

“We want to ensure our customers can comply with upcoming restrictions on peat,” explains Jeroen Zoon, Sales Manager of Lavendel Plus. “Without compromising on the plant’s deep colors, compact growth, and delicious scent.”

A lavender nursery on a mission

Lavender nurseries have long relied on peat-based substrates due to their superior water retention and aeration properties. However, environmental concerns about peat extraction are leading to a shift toward eco-friendlier alternatives. Lavendel Plus are determined to lead this change by finding a viable peat-free product that supports their high standards of lavender production.

“We recognized the urgent need to transition to a more sustainable solution,” says Jeroen. “Our goal is to maintain the outstanding quality of our plants while reducing our environmental footprint – and enable our customers to do the same.”

Jac-Jan van den Wijngaart, owner of Lavendel Plus, with Lars Tolenaars, Jiffy Account Manager

Partnering for the future
Jiffy Account Manager Lars Tolenaars has collaborated closely with Jeroen and the Lavendel Plus team throughout the trials to identify and develop a peat-free substrate for lavender that would meet their specific needs.

“Working with Lavendel Plus is an inspiring experience,” Lars shares. “Their dedication to sustainability aligns perfectly with our mission. We focused on creating a mix that offered the beneficial properties of peat made using alternative raw materials.”

Testing peat-free lavender substrates to the limit
The peat-free trials have been carefully planned and executed. Lars visits frequently to check on progress and help address any challenges. Lavendel Plus were initially concerned about the new mix attracting more weeds, but it hasn’t been a problem. And while the mix does require slightly more frequent watering, this was remedied by adjusting the irrigation system.

“The support from Jiffy is phenomenal,” says Jeroen. “Their team is always available to guide us during the trials. We’ve made incremental changes to the substrate each year, and the peat-free plants are now just as marketable as those grown in our conventional mix. That’s a great achievement considering we pride ourselves on offering truly premium products.”

An ongoing focus on the highest quality
With a focus on niche production, Lavendel Plus offer varieties such as Essence Purple, Hidcote, and Little Lady in four large pot sizes. They pride themselves on always starting their seedlings outdoors. Their roots are the size of a soccer ball by the time they are transferred to containers after a year, resulting in exceptionally strong plants. This is crucial because most of them travel from the lavender nursery in Netherlands to be sold at high-end garden centers in the UK, Scandinavia, and France.

The business actually started as a strawberry nursery, taking over a neighboring lavender grower in 2005. While their hanging baskets of strawberries are as popular as ever, these days most their 30 hectares are given over to the iconic flowering perennial.

Reassuring Lavendel Plus’s customers
“We’re the only lavender specialists in the region,” says Jeroen. “As such, we’ve developed a unique level of knowledge over the last 20 years. However, relying on one main type of plant means we must always safeguard the marketability of our crop. That’s why we’ve been so thorough in testing the peat-free substrates and in supporting our customers through the transition.”

Ahead of receiving the plants, some garden centers voiced worries about losses or extra care. Having monitored the plants closely for three years, Lavendel Plus could reassure them that the changes are minimal in practice.

They have gradually expanded the amount of land given over to the trial: In 2024, the peat-free trials accounted for 1.5% of their total capacity of 800,000 plants. As demand for environmentally friendly products grows, they plan to increase this percentage, with the potential to shift all production to the new growing media if costs become more favorable.

A joint commitment to sustainability
The partnership between Lavendel Plus and Jiffy exemplifies the power of collaboration and innovation in addressing environmental challenges. By trialing peat-free substrates at their lavender nursery, Lavendel Plus have demonstrated a commitment to sustainability and quality. Meanwhile, Jiffy’s expertise and support have been instrumental in the success of the trials.

“Our journey with Jiffy shows what can be achieved when like-minded companies work together towards a common goal,” says Jeroen.

“We’re excited for the future and committed to continuing our efforts to support peat-free lavender cultivation,” concludes Lars. “And we’re already working on an even better mix for 2025!”

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U Gaat Bouwen
Langpoort 2
6001 CL Weert, NL
+31 495 545 060