Marchel Snoek talks about tulip Cartago

Cartago – 100 blooms from 100 bulbs

Tulips from growers association Tuliko have a very clear signature: they’re heavy, tight and give large blooms.

Tulips from growers association Tuliko have a very clear signature: they’re heavy, tight and give large blooms. The latest red tulip from this nursery, called Cartago, is an excellent example. Breeder Marchel Snoek from Ens, manages the nursery and doesn’t introduce anything into the market without extensive testing. The Cartago is the result of an extensive breeding process, same as the other tulips from this nursery.

Hence Snoek’s motto: you can’t manage what you don’t measure. He tests new tulips under all possible circumstances. “With every variety, it all comes down to tailor-making: the right place, the correct market and with the right treatments”, says the breeder. “The ultimate goal is to deliver a variety in its best form to the end user. The end user being a foreign or domestic grower in this case.” Tuliko is a cooperative growers association with 7 members. All parties are represented, from breeder, grower to exporter. This collaboration is aimed at synchronising the complete chain’s activities. The association focuses on the heavier variety tulips, which grow with fewer days in the greenhouse and from early until late in the season. The breeding of Tuliko is aimed at water cultivation. It’s a well-considered decision, explains Snoek. “Water is the medium of the future. It is a clean way of cultivating. A tulip, which performs well on water, will 9 out of 10 times perform well in soil as well. This is not the case, the other way round. We expect soil cultivation to become a specialty. Even abroad we see a distinctive change-over to water.” The breeder has drawn up a protocol on the how-to’s of the breeding process. The protocol includes a great deal of testing. Snoek keeps record of various data. “You need to know all the ins and outs of a tulip before it enters the market. And here, in the greenhouse, we can dig into every aspect. Light is the only factor that may vary in other countries.”

All the data gained during the breeding process, determines whether Snoek will continue with a variety tulip. And if he does, under which circumstances will that tulip enter the market. A tulip is introduced into the market with a passport as it were. This passport includes a treatment plan for the species, such as the amount of cold days it requires to grow into the perfect tulip. “If you haven’t done your tests properly, you won’t know this kind of information”,  stresses Snoek. “If you test on quality, this information will surface automatically. It’s very enlightening. I personally don’t think anything should be introduced into the market without such a process.” The Cartago went through the complete testing with great success. Snoek is proud of its clean, uniformly coloured red flower. “It’s a reliable tulip, which can be used in the greenhouse from beginning till end of the season. It’s tight and heavy. A hundred bulbs means a hundred blooms. When you look at these particular features, this tulip will perform perfectly every time.” Text: René Bouwmeester Photography: René Faas

Marchel Snoek about tulip Cartago