Novicactus BV

Novicactus BV is a dynamic company in the Netherlands, based in Honselersdijk, the horticultural municipality of Westland. At the head of Novicactus is third generation cactus grower Hein van den Bos. At Novicactus, high quality cacti and (tuber) succulents are grown with great passion and they are always looking for novelties in the field of varieties, way of growing, sustainability and added value.
The company has an area of 20,000 m2 and has fully automated sowing, transplanting and potting robots, which enables the company to offer a very varied assortment and to respond quickly to all types of orders.


Novicactus has been growing as sustainably as possible since 1956 in order to put as little strain on natural resources as possible and because it ultimately also gives a higher yield from an economic point of view.
The best challenge remains to turn a tiny seed into a beautiful and strong end product in as sustainable a way as possible.


Cactus cultivation requires low-energy, little water and uses very little fertilizer and crop protection products. The first step is always to assess whether possible problems can be solved by prevention, screening and the use of biological agents.


They use rainwater which is collected in 7 water silos. If really necessary, surface water could be used.
Cacti need very little water and are placed in growing trays that are closed at the bottom. The plants are watered manually as more than 200 varieties of plants are grown and all these plants have their own water requirements. An additional advantage of manual watering is that no water is lost and therefore nothing ends up in the surface water.
The water consumption of Novicactus has no influence at all on the drinking water supplies in the region.


Novicactus tries to combat disease and pests within the nursery by applying biological agents to minimise the use of plant protection products.
Adhesive tapes are used to quickly detect and catch insects, so that the control can be adjusted accordingly. Besides, they use insect trap lamps and animal-friendly mousetraps.


To keep the varieties pure and of high quality and to avoid harvesting seeds unnecessarily harvested nature, Novicactus has its own mother plants from which seeds and cuttings are extracted. Only 15% of the cactus seed is purchased from suppliers. These suppliers have to be certified.


Potting soil and fertilizers
Cacti need little nutrition, so they need little extra fertilizers. The supplier of the potting soil has already added fertilizer to the soil. Because cacti need little water, no fertilizer is flushed out of the soil.
Finished potting soil is composted. All waste materials are first separated and then disposed of. Plastic, paper, cardboard and industrial waste are collected separately and transported as much as possible in a single drive to minimize the impact on the environment. Old trays are collected and returned by full truck to a recycling company that reuses them.


They use a heat storage tank to heat the greenhouses. This ensures a constant, low gas consumption even during cold days. This gas is needed to heat the water in the heat storage tank to avoid energy-guzzling peaks in the consumption.
Currently they conduct researches into alternative ways of heating the greenhouse, such as the use of residual heat or hydrogen.
In order to reduce energy and gas consumption, they use energy screens and consider modifications to the cultivation method. For example, by sowing later in the year, they need less gas to heat the greenhouse.


Novicactus uses a transport company that attaches great importance to sustainability. It uses Duel Fuel for the trucks, which contains a combination of Diesel and LNG. LNG stands for Liquid Natural Gas (liquid gas) which can significantly reduce CO2 emissions. Furthermore, the transport company is investigating the possibilities of a biogas plant in which gas is produced by fermentation of agricultural waste. Other measures taken by the transport company to reduce CO2 emissions include the introduction of electronic limiters on all their trucks and ‘Smart Driving’ training for all drivers.

Crop Protection Agents Kg Active Ingredient: 

Provides insight into the use of plant protection products. Red stands for substances with a high environmental impact, orange for substances with a low impact on the environment, green for substances with a low impact on the environment (Source MPS-A).

Energy (GJ):

Provides insight into the use of the amount of energy. (Source MPS-A)

Fertilizers (KG) Nitrogen and Phosphorus Consumption:

Provides insight into the use of Nitrogen and Phosphorus. (Source MPS-A)


Novicactus employs 2 people permanently and employs temporary staff. All these employees are treated equally. Novicactus regularly has internships for students at vocational or professional schools. On average there are 7 students from the region working at Novicactus. They get every opportunity to work flexibly during their free hours, so that their study (which always takes precedence) does not suffer as a result.
Novicactus is strongly involved in the important events in their education and lives, such as birthdays, exams and other (sports) activities.


There are protocols for dealing with machines, handling agents and entering areas after the use of crop protection agents. Regular information meetings are held for staff to explain how machines are used and how they interact with each other. There is also always someone present who can act as an in-house emergency service. The working method is based on the conditions described in the Collective Labour Agreement for greenhouse horticulture. Employees therefore have an employment contract, providing them with income security.
Novicactus has obtained the GLOBAL-GRASP certificate. This means that compliance with social regulations and laws is monitored.


In addition to growing cacti, Novicactus supports neighbourhood associations, various foundations, ALS Westland, Harttrimclub Westland, Honsels Harmony, Youth Orchestra Nederland and their staff in (sports) activities.


Did you know that flowers and plants have a healthy effect on people?

  • Plants provide air purification..
    People breathe in air, take out oxygen and breathe out carbon dioxide. In the case of plants it is the other way around. During photosynthesis, plants remove carbon dioxide from the air and convert it back into oxygen. The amount of oxygen in the air is increased by the presence of plants, which makes breathing easier.
    Air-purifying plants can absorb harmful substances from the air through their leaves. These harmful substances are then stored and broken down in the plant’s roots. These plants can also break down dirty odours, so they are actually natural air fresheners.
    For the sake of clarity, every (indoor) plant produces oxygen, but not every plant also purifies the air. Air-purifying plants are e.g. the Spathiphyllum, Calathea, Hedera helix (ivy), Areca palm and the Ficus. For many plants we do not yet know to what extent they have an air purifying effect since they have not yet been tested.
  • Plants ensure a better concentration and a reduction of stress.
    Plants create a relaxed and better atmosphere, also at work.. Plants make the workplace a more pleasant place to work.
    Apparently there is even a relationship between the presence of plants and the productivity of employees.
    Moreover, the presence of plants has a positive effect on the creativity and concentration of people.
  • Plants reduce the dryness of the air
    The dust content and humidity in the house are strongly related with each other. The dryer the air, the more dust. This can cause symptoms such as a tickling cough, dry skin, headaches and irritated eyes. By watering plants, it finally evaporates again through the stomata in the leaves. Plants can thus increase the humidity of the air, which therefore benefits the air quality.
  • Plants provide a pleasant and warm feeling
    Research has shown that plants are good for people in various (subtle) ways. They play an essential role in creating a pleasant, natural and quiet environment in which to move, work and/or relax.
  • Did you know that flowers too have a healthy effect on people?
    Flowers can brighten up any room in a magical way. They give meaning to our emotions such as love, joy, comfort, compassion and sorrow. Flowers provide a relaxing effect on our constitution. They provide positive energy in the home and a warm feeling. In short, everyone is just very happy about that!



The Dutch greenhouse horticulture sector is worldwide renowned for its innovative power. In order to be one step ahead of the competition from other parts of the world, people are constantly looking for better efficiency in the use of raw materials and space. This, of course, without compromising the (top) quality of the Dutch product.

The glasshouse horticulture sector in the Netherlands can cope with this rapid pace of innovation thanks to a strong relationship between research and practice. In addition, a great deal of knowledge is exchanged between the entrepreneurs in order to make progress together. The flower auctions are a good example of this as one of the largest cooperatives in the world.
Below we describe a few examples of this innovative power.


Biological control and integrated pest management
In order to minimise the use of pesticides and to find a better balance between parasites and their natural enemies, natural enemies of the parasites are used in the greenhouses. Thanks to the intensive exchange of knowledge between the growers and their suppliers, growers are increasingly able to produce a top quality product with organic solutions.


Combined heat and power (CHP)
Combined heat and power (CHP) is a large engine, originating from the shipping industry. Only it has been converted to run on natural gas. The efficiency of this motor is higher than traditional gas boilers. These engines drive a generator that generates electricity. This electricity is used in the company’s own nursery or is supplied back to the public electricity grid. The ‘residual heat’ produced by the engine is used to heat the greenhouses. After cleaning, the exhaust gases can be used to provide the plants with CO2. All in all, these motors provide an efficiency that can be up to 20% higher than the traditional method of heating (gas boilers).


Geothermal energy
Geothermal energy is used for this type of energy. A drilling tower is used to drill a well to a depth of 2-3 km. At this depth, water of more than 80 degrees can be ‘collected’. This heat is used to heat the greenhouses and then the cooled water is returned to the soil via a second source. It is expected that these sources will be able to continue to produce sufficient heat, even longer than the life of a greenhouse.

Drilling the well is an enormously expensive investment. In addition, there is a great risk that the drilling will ‘fail’. By working together with each other and with governments, in the Netherlands we are able to gain experience with this way of heating greenhouses sustainably.


Water purification
Plants need water and nutrients to grow. More and more nurseries are making use of the reuse of drainage water. This is water that is collected before it disappears into the subsoil. This ‘drainage water’ still contains many nutrients that can be used by the plants.
By reusing this water and mixing it with clean water, less fertilizer is used.
However, the drainage water also contains some ‘wrong substances’. The content of these wrong substances determines how much water can be reused. The application of new techniques creates opportunities to filter these ‘wrong substances’ out of the water.


Diffuse glass
In new constructions, more and more growers are opting to cover their greenhouses with diffuse glass. Diffuse glass ensures that light is distributed much more evenly across the crop without any shade or light spots. This leads to a more even greenhouse climate.
Temperature and humidity can thus be controlled more accurately, which means, for example, that the opening of the air windows can be limited, which leads to lower CO2 emissions.


LED lighting in greenhouse horticulture
A new innovation in horticulture is the use of LED lighting. This lighting is not comparable with LED lighting used in consumer use. In the horticultural sector, the lighting is produced by ‘power LEDs’ and therefore much higher. The major advantage of these ‘power LEDs’ is related to sustainable business practices: energy savings compared to high-pressure sodium lamps (orange-coloured lighting). This saves more than half of the energy.
Another major advantage is that when using LEDs, crops can be better controlled using the different colours in the light. This is in favour of a better growth and a higher quality of the product.

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