Kwekerij Zevenhoven

We, Fred and Anne-Marie Hoppenbrouwer, are the owners of Kwekerij Zevenhoven VOF. At our nursery we grow 5 ha of Ilex verticillata (the ‘red berry’ or ‘winter berry’). Ilex verticillata is a deciduous holly shrub. Its bare branches with bright red berries can be applied in a vase as well as in flower arrangements. Ilex verticillata is fully suitable for outdoor cultivation. The shrubs are harvested biennially; all branches are cut in autumn after which the shrubs develop new branches the next spring. The female shrubs produce berries. The male shrubs do not produce berries. They only bear flowers, which are necessary for pollination.

Insect pollination is essential for proper fructification. For this purpose bees and drones are used as an extra help. During the second year the crop sprouts in spring, developing side shoots on which the flowers will grow. Moist soil is absolutely essential for proper berry growth. Outdoor cultivation means that there are varying weather influences including hail and wind, and when the berries grow red they need to be protected from feeding birds and mice.

A good biological balance during the flowering stage is essential and that is why we restrict the use of products to a minimum, allowing nature to do its thing. This also appears from our MPS-A qualification.

Ilex verticillata is available from October to January with a peak during the weeks before Christmas. In order to be able to supply Ilex from October the leaves are forced off so only the bare branches bearing beautiful berries remain. The leaves have no ornamental value and are not long-lasting. However, the branches bearing berries are very long-lasting!

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