Early-season, red cut tulip

A new, early-season red tulip. That is the missing link in the tulip nurseries according to Marax Tulips.

‘Red Stone’ is a variety from their portfolio. Due to the tulip’s many positive features, the expectations are immensely high, same as the demand for the bulbs.

In 1998, the ‘Red Stone’ was the result from a hybridisation between the varieties ‘Kung Fu’ and ‘Monte Peony’. The latter tulip is a mutant of ‘Monte Carlo’ and tetraploid, meaning that it’s a genetically heavier tulip compared to other varieties. Another benefit is the head size, which also happens to be larger than average. The tulip was extracted by Marax Tulips vof. in Bovenkarspel. Why all the fuss you wonder? According to Mark Ruiter, it’s very simple: ‘There are only a very few early-season, heavy, red tulips and the reds that are currently on the market are becoming lighter.” Axel Vroling: “There is ‘Ben van Zanten’, which is an early-season, red tulip but the stock is decreasing as we speak and almost none of the batches is free of TVX. ‘Red Stone’ can fill this gap.”

The breeders think that this variety will suit every market. However, it is currently too expensive still for the dry bulb industry. Cut tulip growers would love to carry this variety in their range but the bulbs are currently spread amongst 20 different growers for scaling. It will take another while longer before ‘Red Stones’ are available at the auctions.

Dark green foliage

According to Vroling and Ruiter, the ‘Red Stone’ has multiple benefits. It has elegant, dark green foliage, large flowers that show colour in an early state, which adds to the presentation at auctions. In addition, the sturdy buds grow right in-between the tips of the foliage. It’s a fast-growing variety, depending on the temperature, it takes approximately 22/23 days in the greenhouse. “The tulip can be planted early seasons thanks to its heaviness, which will always give sufficient volume. Even if the cold period they receive is shorter, this variety will still easily weigh 40grams per stem. It grows evenly and reaches to 38-40cm stem length. Exactly to market demands,” says Ruiter. Vroling adds: “ The ‘Red Stone’ has a minimum vase life of a week and does not lose any of its colour during this time.”

Students

The name ‘Red Stone’ was thought up by students. Axel explains: “The students who were working for us at the time, were joking around with names and opted for ‘stoned’ and ‘coke’. After a brainstorm session, we actually thought Stone was a good name. You can put any colour in front of the word Stone: ‘White Stone’, ‘Purple Stone’. With the Rolling Stones also in our minds, we went with the name Stone there and then. It’s not a series however, all the Stone tulips are completely different. Thinking up names is getting harder each time, that’s why we have secured a whole bunch for future references.”

By Lilian Braakman
Photography by René Faas