A field trip to Kakteen Haage
If you have a soft spot for the pricks among the plants, have you ever heard of Kakteen Haage? Probably not, even though it is the world’s oldest cacti and succulent farm and only a two-hour train ride away from Berlin. Arriving in Erfurt, take a walk through the pretty historic old town and further to a suburban industrial area, where a huge sign welcomes you: Kakteen Haage. Gardeners since 1685.
The premises are not very impressive at first – it is a nursery, after all. But upon entering one of the four sales-greenhouses you transport into another world. The temperature rises, the air is dry, like you’ve stepped into a desert. The long greenhouse is stretching out before you, with table upon table of plants as far as the eye can reach. Welcome to cacti heaven.
Sitting neatly on those tables are an abundance of cacti plants in stunning variety. From small to huge, from young to old, from classical beauties to rare ones that look like they’re from another planet and that you’ve surely never seen before. There are cacti in full bloom, and species that are almost hiding under sand. Even more stunning are the graphic ones that look like an architectural or design masterpiece. Succulents with furry or opulent leaves in all shapes and sizes, seeming almost unreal further take you away from reality. In between, you get lost, taking in all the wonders that nature creates. Take your time to embrace it all and chat with one of the specialized cacti-gardeners who will give you extra care tips and expertise.
The history of Kakteen Haage begins back in the year 1685 and it has been in the family until today, now offering the most comprehensive assortment with more than 3.000 species of cacti plants, for both collectors as well as cacti lovers. Their oldest exemplar is a huge “mother-in-law-chair” cactus that is more than 280 years old and today is the nursery mascot and, obviously, is not for sale.
Before you go there, make sure you have enough room in your apartment, as you will definitely take some new cacti friends home. And if you can’t find the time to go there, have a look at the vast range in the catalogue online, as they they ship most of their product!