Alina Strickmann

The Future of Growing

International Plant Fair (Internationale Pflanzenmesse, IPM) in Essen

The main emphasis of Klasmann-Deilmann’s IPM presence will be on the substrate of the future. In the coming years, the Group will be considerably expanding its efforts to develop innovative substrate constituents and growing systems. “We will increase the proportion of alternative substrate constituents to 15% of our total production by 2020,” says Managing Director Norbert Siebels. The current focus is on TerrAktiv green compost and the wood fibre product GreenFibre, both of which the company makes itself and which are a horticulturally valuable addition to many substrate blends. “Our Research and Development department will, however, explore completely new avenues to arrive at solutions that no-one yet has their sights on.” The aim is to conserve existing resources, to complement them with new raw materials and, in the medium term, to be able to produce substrates that meet sustainability criteria even more fully while also achieving greater public acceptance. “In this way, we will further consolidate our leading position within the growing-media sector in terms of both quality and service,” Siebels adds.

A wealth of innovation at the IPM 2016

The International Plant Fair 2016 in Essen will see Klasmann-Deilmann presenting a number of new growing-media products offering distinct advantages in various areas of commercial horticulture. A range of substrates for soft fruits meets the needs of all commonly cultivated crops and leads to reliable crop performance both in experienced nurseries and for growers just entering this segment. A trailblazing advancement has been achieved in black-peat-based blocking substrates: the addition of the wood fibre product GreenFibre with a share of 10% results in even greater stability of press pots while reducing weight. In organic substrates, the combination of high-quality raw materials and a brand-new fertiliser formulation noticeably reduces pressure from sciarids. Furthermore, Klasmann-Deilmann has transformed its brand identity in keeping with the company’s accelerating internationalisation.

Special substrates for reliable cultivation of soft fruits

For years now, demand for soft fruit such as strawberries, raspberries and blueberries has continued to grow worldwide. It is within this segment that Klasmann-Deilmann has developed a range of special substrates designed for growing soft fruits.

The substrates ‘Klasmann TS 4 – soft fruit with perlite’ (recipe 496) and ‘Klasmann TS 4 – soft fruit with GreenFibre’ (recipe 497) are available for use in containers or in substrate-filled gutters. There is also a peat-free blend called ‘Klasmann container substrate 3 – soft fruit coir’ (recipe 237), as well as a substrate blend – ‘Klasmann TS1 – soft fruit propagation’ (recipe 881) – developed especially for growing young plants. In terms of their pH values and nutrient supply, these substrates have been precisely designed to meet the needs of soft fruits. For example, they contain chelated trace elements to specifically ensure a reliable supply of iron. “It was important to us to design a range of substrates that deliver reliable crop outcomes,” says Horst Kupschus, Managing Director of Klasmann-Deilmann Europe GmbH. “We also had in mind growers just entering this segment, for whom it is especially important to have a reliable substrate like this.”

Klasmann-Deilmann provides nurseries with an in-depth advisory service on all aspects of growing soft fruits. “This also applies to growers who are currently merely thinking about cultivating soft fruits in the future,” says Kupschus. “Our specialists have drawn up guidelines bringing together the key facts. This will help them make an informed decision and, if they so wish, to enter this segment.” Titled ‘GreenNotes’, the manual gives basic guidance on cultivation, crop management, substrate use and fertilisation, helping new growers of soft fruits to get off to a good start.

Blocking substrates with 10% GreenFibre

Klasmann-Deilmann has outstanding expertise when it comes to blocking substrates. Growers have special requirements for these growing media. Up to now, primarily blends based solely on frozen black peat have proven of value. But now the company has succeeded in developing blocking substrates containing 10% of the GreenFibre wood fibre product (produced at in-house facilities), which enhances the stability of the press pots still further while also reducing substrate weight.

“We are extremely pleased with this achievement by our Research and Development department,” says Horst Kupschus, Managing Director of Klasmann-Deilmann Europe GmbH. “Our new blocking substrates with GreenFibre offer our customers a wealth of benefits.” The precise balance between various black peat raw materials and GreenFibre ensures the product possesses the same high degree of reliability that a blocking substrate based solely on black peat has. Indeed, in practice the new press pots exhibit even greater stability and ensure a trouble-free production process. The addition of GreenFibre also enhances both the rewetting and the air capacity of the pots – a further boost to plant growth.

“The fact that our blocking substrates also contain GreenFibre – certified to PEFC and RHP standards – confers an additional advantage in terms of sustainability,” Kupschus explains. The reduction in substrate weight has a positive impact on emissions of transport-related greenhouse gases. Another benefit is that the excellent climate footprint of this wood fibre product helps keep down emission levels attributable to blocking substrates. And peat supplies are also safeguarded.

Klasmann-Deilmann was, in the mid-1970s, the world’s first company to develop growing media on the basis of black peat and to successfully launch them onto relevant markets. Numerous substrates developed back then are still among the company’s most successful products to the present day, including a range of blocking substrates.

Substrate solution to reduce problems with sciarid infestation

In an EU research project, Klasmann-Deilmann and the University of Osnabrück investigated the causes of sciarid infestation, especially in organic cultivation. They developed a new substrate solution that reduces development of sciarids by up to 80%.

Primarily in the cultivation of organic pot herbs, sciarids are a major problem. Nurseries incur high costs for biological control of this pest. The EU research project team found that the main factor was the composition of the substrates used, which contained not only peat raw materials but also 20 to 30% alternative constituents such as green compost, coir or wood fibre, as well as solid organic fertiliser. This blend provides the sciarid larvae with suitable living conditions. Organic fertilisers, in particular, provide a direct food source for these larvae.

Under this project, the selection of substrate constituents was changed such that the larvae were deprived of their natural food source. What is crucial here is the use of fully rotted and mature green compost produced by Klasmann-Deilmann in compliance with RHP guidelines. A method of application and a novel fertiliser formulation were also developed to ensure that the substrate has virtually no potential as a life-sustaining medium for sciarid larvae. Put together from special vegetable and animal constituents, these fertiliser achieve remarkably good outcomes not only in the suppression of sciarids but also in terms of plant growth. They are highly efficient in their nutrient potency and also rich in specific amino acids that strengthen plants. It was in view of this that, last year, Klasmann-Deilmann installed special feeders in two of its production facilities, enabling the new fertiliser to be injected directly into the substrates.


This new substrate solution is especially promising for growers that use organic pot herb substrates with low to moderate base fertilisation, combining them with subsequent liquid feeding regimes. Other potential uses are as propagation substrates for sensitive vegetable crops such as lamb’s lettuce.

Big-bale production in Lithuania expanded

Klasmann-Deilmann has built an additional factory in Lithuania. This facility, geared entirely to producing big bales, went into operation in time for the start of the 2016 season. It has increased the capacity for manufacturing growing media in the Baltic region to more than 1.5 million m³ per annum.

“We can now boast the highest-output production facility for growing media in the Baltic states,” says Norbert Siebels, Managing Director of the Klasmann-Deilmann Group. “Horticultural businesses throughout the world will benefit from this.”

Intended to complement the factory opened in 2010 and in which the internationally sought-after 200-litre bales have been produced since 2010, the new production unit is designed solely for big bales. And sod peat, milled peat as well as Lithuanian black peat are processed here, representing a necessary step prior to substrate manufacture. A ‘laboratory greenhouse’ has also been constructed.


It was continuously increasing demand that made this expansion of our production capacity necessary. “This new factory is our response to our customers’ wishes,” says Norbert Siebels. “We have noticeably increased our capability so we can meet international requirements. At the same time, the quality of the products packaged in big bales is being enhanced. The positive impact of state-of-the-art systems engineering on raw materials and end products should not be underestimated. Here, too, we have succeeded in making further improvements.”

New corporate design

The Klasmann-Deilmann Group has fundamentally realigned its brand identity, with the new corporate design to be launched at the IPM 2016.

 The Group has kept its distinctive K logo and the globally successful slogan ‘we make it grow’. Many changes have been made, however. The corporate logo has a more modern look. For the logos of the ‘Easy Growing’ and ‘Select’ product lines, a common design is adopted in which the alternative substrate constituents ‘GreenFibre’ and ‘TerrAktiv’ are incorporated. The fonts have been altered and the colour palette is more diverse. Even the shade of green used has been aligned with international standards. Klasmann-Deilmann has revitalised numerous aspects of its brand identity.

The catalyst for these changes was the company’s single-minded approach to its advancement, especially in recent years: the product range has been extended to include many new growing media, alternative constituents and additional innovations, and has been continuously enhanced. The company has also gained a foothold in a new business area: renewable energy and resources.

“We have a reputation as the company that shapes the global substrate industry,” said Norbert Siebels, Managing Director of the Klasmann-Deilmann Group. “So the values and image of our brand are crucial to how we are externally perceived. Our customers and partners all over the world associate Klasmann-Deilmann with quality, reliability and sustainability. At the same time, they value the personal touch in our contact with them. All of these are things we want our new corporate design to express.”

Klasmann-Deilmann is the leading player in the international substrate industry, with subsidiaries and trade partners in more than 70 countries. Our substrates provide the basis for plant growth and for the success of horticultural companies. As an up-and-coming provider of renewable resources, we are also active in the renewable energy sector. Our standards include RHP, ISO 9001, ISO 14001 and ISO 14064, and our benchmark is innovation and sustainability in all parts of the company. In the 2015 financial year, we had a workforce of 950 and generated sales of about EUR 180 million.