Germany's largest pot plant and cut flower marketing co-operative, Langard Blumen & Pflanzer, is planning to target the UK for a new export drive.

Klemens Jannsen, Langard's sales director, said he had made preliminary contact with several UK retailers.

Jannsen admitted the co-op's 2,000 growers would have to compete against Dutch exporters, but the stakes were high with UK flower sales valued at more than £500m after rampant growth of 9% last year.

The Germans could match the Dutch on production costs and quality, added Heinrich Esser, MD of the Association for Horticulture.