Innovation regarding succulent plants in Liguria

Innovation regarding succulent plants in Liguria

FINANCING BODY: Rural Development Programme 2014-2020 Measure 16.01 - “Aid for the establishment and operation of EIP operational groups”, 1st phase - Agricultural Sector (implementation of the Regional Executive Decision No. 1338/2016).


DURATION: 15th September 2017 - 14th December 2017


IRF ROLE: Coordinator and Project Partner




Scope and objectives


The INSULI project aimed to specifically promote the succulent plant sector. 

The project aims to introduce product innovation into the sector, promoting succulent research and insights within the Ligurian territory, drawing up a preliminary list of regional companies involved with this type of crop, and developing strategies to obtain real and direct feedback from the production sector.


Methodological approach

The IRF, as Project Coordinator, led the project partners, the IRF, the Western Floriculture Agricultural District (Distretto Agricolo Florovivaistico del Ponente), and the company A&G FLOROORTOAGRICOLA SSA, in signing a cooperation agreement for the establishment of the working group Gruppo Operativo CONSUL and its internal regulations, and coordinating and animating the partnership to realize the various activities envisaged under the preliminary project. 


The project aims to develop activities that build relationships and information exchanges between the preliminary project partners and research subjects, such as farms, nurseries, local administrations, trade associations, universities, research centres and institutes, in order to promote the establishment of the working group and develop a “definitive cooperation project” with a more precise identification of the sector’s problems and an assessment of the innovations that can be implemented to address them.

Several preparatory studies have already been carried out in order to obtain essential information for the preparation of the “definitive project” and ensure the project can introduce state-of-the-art innovations to meet needs of the sector and the territory. In this end, the various organized collective and individual meetings were also of fundamental importance.

In addition, a fact-finding survey has also been carried out using a questionnaire specially developed by the IRF and submitted to a sample of 25 representative companies in the regional succulent plant sector, constituting approximately 50% of the companies on the market and including several of the major sector players.


A considerable amount of information has been obtained from the questionnaire, including:


Company data providing greater knowledge of the sector’s entrepreneurial fabric;

Production management problems and interventions by public and particularly regional bodies considered important for the development of the sector;

Regarding the main purpose of INSULI, innovation, companies were asked about the main characteristics that an innovative product must have;

Manifestations of interest in the initiative and the statement of intentions to engage directly or indirectly with the working group for the potential development of planning.

From exchanges between partners, and data obtained from the survey, it has been possible to develop a preliminary list of species and varieties of interest for the project, with potential fields of application, propagation methodologies and development conditions.


Results and impacts

The INSULI project has led to the identification of 4 different innovations:


1) The introduction of new varieties and species: the production of succulent plants in our region includes, among its main strengths, an extreme diversification of species; the preliminary project has identified various species of potential interest, which are not on the market yet or only there to a very limited degree; the next step is to evaluate and start the production of such species in order to meet market demands and further diversify production.


2) Innovation in the commercial supply chain and market network expansion: an interesting innovation is the expansion of the commercial supply chain, through distribution channels different from classic nursery gardening ones, in order to propose succulent plant products to the vase and cut plant commercial network.


3) Cut succulent plants as a new type of final product: normally, the final product of the cultivation of succulent plants is a plant or a composition of potted plants, though preliminary attempts have been made to market certain cut succulent plants for direct use in floral arrangements, in a way similar to cut foliage and flowers. The intention is, therefore, to evaluate solutions for their preparation and preservation, in order to make this new type of product more attractive.


4) The creation of a platform of services to support the succulent plant sector: from meetings with companies, a series of problems common to the whole sector emerged, highlighting the opportunity to set up and develop a single platform of specialist services to support the Ligurian succulent plant sector in such aspects as phytopathology, propagation, agronomic management, sector information and data collection, dissemination and exchange of information between companies, etc.




Regional Institute for Floriculture (IRF), Italy

Distretto Agricolo Florovivaistico del Ponente - Western Floriculture Agricultural District, Italy

Azienda AG Sanremo - Cacti and Succulents, Italy


Margherita Beruto (IRF Coordinator and Manager,

Serena Viglione (In Vitro Test Technician,

Federico Di Battista (Field Test Technician,

Elena Delfini (Technical-administrative Staff,

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