A unique story

In 1983, Prof. Dr. Willem Van Cotthem and a team from the Laboratory of Plant Morphology, Systematics and Ecology at the University of Ghent (Belgium) started a research program to grow plants in the Sahel region of Africa using less water.

Scientific heritage

In a first phase they developed a screening method to study the influence of a wide variety of materials (cocoa husks, compost, hydroabsorbent polymers, peat, vermiculite, zeolite, coir fibre, inorganic and organic fertilisers, proteins, starches, etc...) on plant growth, singularly and in combinations. The team from Ghent found that by mixing certain hydroabsorbent, nutritive and root growth stimulating components together, that a superior soil conditioning compound was attained which produced dramatic and swift results. The Laboratory Plant Morphology, Systematics and Ecology was able to conclusively demonstrate that certain materials complement each other in a synergetic manner and provide soil conditioning benefits whose collective effect is better than the effect of their individual parts. The research effort led by Prof. W. Van Cotthem resulted in the TerraCottem soil conditioner, a mixture of more than twenty components that work in synergy to improve growing conditions and plant growth.

Ten years of testing, both in the laboratory and in the field, were completed before the soil conditioning technology was made available commercially on an international scale.

A commercial company is born

The TerraCottem company was born out of a meeting between Professor Van Cotthem, and Bernard Devos, a Belgian industrialist drawn by the technology’s immense potential from a business, environmental and humanitarian point of view. TerraCottem was in need of a marketing strategy and international distribution network and Bernard Devos was keen to invest. The company was established in 1993 and quickly built a distribution network in over 40 countries worldwide with export currently representing 75% of its global turnover. Fifteen years into the business, the company went from a single product to a range of TerraCottem soil conditioners, all based on the TerraCottem principle.

In 2013 the company was restructured with a capital increase and consolidation of the financial situation.

Three years later, Carol Devos, Bernard Devos' eldest daughter, in charge of our international sales office in Spain, also took over the position of general manager of our manufacturing company. In 2019 we moved the factory in Belgium to a larger facility owing to increased national and international demand for our soil conditioners.

TerraCottem primarily supplies the landscaping, reforestation, horticulture and sports turf industry and now also wants to reach the retail market through online sales.

In 2018 we celebrated our 25th anniversary and published 25 client stories. We decided to put TerraCottem users in the spotlight and we haven’t stopped since. Dozens of stories have been added to our news blog.

In 2023, TerraCottem celebrated its 30th anniversary. To mark this special occasion, we launched the Distributor Anniversary Programme, which acknowledges distributors who have been with us for 5, 10, and 25 years.

The Distributor Anniversary Programme is ongoing, including a new certificate: "the 30-year Distributor Certificate".

Our values

Our values influence everything we do: from the soil conditioners we manufacture to the conversations we have with our partners, clients and prospects.

  • Integrity. We are responsible, genuine and transparent. We say what we believe. When looking for distributors, we want to work with individuals or companies that share our values in order to build strong and trusting relationships, the cornerstone of our business for over 25 years.
  • Professionalism. Our qualified staff are engaged towards our distributors to supply them with leading soil conditioning technology, technical advice and client service that exceeds their expectations which in turn our distributors provide to their clients so that they can excel at their work.
  • Flexibility. Our delivery process is standardised in order to give a reliable service yet it is flexible as we cater to our distributors needs so that they can operate in the most effective manner.
  • Reliability. From our products’ performance to our staff’s commitment to our clients and peers in the industry.
  • Respect. Respecting everyone’s ideas, contributions and hard work helps facilitate an environment all members are proud to be part of.
Arbole, Burkina Faso (1988): Native trees planted with TerraCottem just before the rainy season.
Arbole, Burkina Faso (1990): Two years later.
Arbole, Burkina Faso (1992): Four years later.

Mission statement

Providing soil conditioning solutions to individuals, organisations and professionals who are committed to creating more fertile soil and a greener planet as part of the solution to the challenges presented by climate change.

Let me introduce you:

Team TerraCottem