Hans-Friedrich Haage (*1942)

Cactus cultivation in the GDR

Only with gnashing teeth the comrades of the "Volkseigen Gutes Saatzucht Zierpflanzen" in 1972 let Hans-Friedrich Haage come to the fore. Family tradition did not play a role in the nationalised company. There was simply no other sufficiently qualified colleague who could lead the Brigade "Cactus Growing".


Walther Haage's son had just completed his horticultural studies at Humboldt University in Berlin together with his wife Liebgund.


In Germany in the 70s there is a real cactus boom. This is why enormous investments are being made in the company. The production area is quintupled by the construction of five modern greenhouses, each with 600 square meters.


Walther Haage's experience also benefits the company in this phase. He is employed as a seed breeding manager and thus has a significant influence - albeit unofficially - on the development of the farm. Besides, Walther Haage still dedicates himself to writing cactus books. His works appeared in the GDR as well as in the FRG and made many people cactus lovers. The most famous books from this time are "Das Praktische Kakteenbuch" and "Schöne Kakteen richtig pflegen".

Ups and downs determine the time as a state-owned enterprise. New connections are made, e.g. to Colonel Baranov's successor Dr. Georg Wolsky at the Leninggrad Botanical Gardens. The connections to the western world, which are indispensable for cactus cultivation, can also be maintained - mostly unofficially, of course. In this way, even in GDR times, some new products were added to the product range which should not actually exist at all.

1989 - New opportunities with the fall of the Wall


Challenges and opportunities - the political turnaround offers enough of both. The connections interrupted during the GDR era quickly come back to life. A lively exchange with the DKG Ortsgruppe Kassel and the Staatliche Sukkulentensammlung Zürich is resumed. Contacts with German botanists and cactus growers are also being revived.


Despite economic uncertainty, Hans-Friedrich Haage takes the big step into self-employment on September 1, 1990 and applies to the Treuhandanstalt for the company to be reprivatized. At this time, the local market no longer offers much; cacti are not so high on the wish list of East German customers. It is a very difficult starting point.


That is why Hans-Friedrich Haage begins to develop his company into a retail and mail-order nursery for lovers of cacti and succulents.


Cactus friends from all over the world still associate the name Haage with its long tradition even after twenty years of interruption. This makes the reboot easier. It was already foreseeable after three years: It was the right decision. Kakteen Haage sends first-class seeds and plants all over the world again. 


As a new distribution channel, Haage discovers specialist sales to specialist retailers. Regular participation in exhibitions and trade fairs is also new. The assortment is extended to caudexpflanzen, Tillandsien, until 1995 also Zimmerbonsai, Kübelpflanzen and Fuchsien.


Hans-Friedrich Haage also became the author of numerous books:


Again, the next generation of cactus professionals was already in the starting blocks. Ulrich Haage found his entry into the company in the 1990s and develops the company through the challenges of modern times.

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