"As far as we know, there are two other players in the US and England, but neither of them is in ornamental plants. A lot of pesticides are still used there, and most of the plants are imported," says Lennart Sör, CEO of Optima Planta.
Blomsterlandet and Optima Planta have started a collaboration concerning the future cultivation of ornamental plants. The investment is part of increasing sustainability in the plant and horticulture industry and with Optima Planta's cultivation system, whose system was originally developed for NASA to research farming in space.
Optima Planta supplies self-developed ADA boxes for cultivation that are combined with self-developed software and AI. Each box allows for setting an optimal growing environment for the plants inside. The agtech is a spin-off of plant physiology at the Swedish University of Agriculture, SLU, and optimization theory from Uppsala University.
Robin Johansson and Lennart Sör
Available in retail
The first batch of ornamental plants grown with the new method is expected to be available in Blomsterlandet's stores in Stockholm and Uppsala in January 2024. The first to appear are palette leaves and scented geraniums. What started as a solution for herbs and leafy greens, Optima Planta is now targeting ornamental plants mainly.
What makes the partnership unique is that the sales will be upscaled as time goes on. "Our current capacity is 2000 plants per week, and once demand increases, we'll be expanding into more technologies," Lennart claims. The agtech has plans to potentially sell their ADA boxes to more clients and/or set up franchise agreements.
"We are proud to be the first garden chain in Sweden to take part in Optima Plant's exciting and sustainable cultivation technology. Finding ways to reduce the use of water and pesticides is a question of the future," says Andreas Karlsson, Purchasing manager at Blomsterlandet.
"Entering into an agreement with Blomsterlandet is an important step in our journey to partner with companies that want to reduce their climate footprint and get bigger and more predictable harvests. We share the vision that the cultivation of the future should be as sustainable as possible, which makes the collaboration feel both natural and fantastic," adds Lennart.