Tulip ‘Ice Cream’: A deluxe treat

She’s not easy-going but her amazingly good looks make up for everything.

She’s not easy-going but her amazingly good looks make up for everything. Tulipa ‘Ice Cream’ is a stunning, double tulip with the perfect name. The pink flower with white topping looks like a sweet, frozen treat.

This double beauty is developed by breeding company Vertuco. Coincidently, Sjaak van den Berg’s grandfather was there the day that ‘Ice Cream’ was discovered amongst the rest of the field. “Vertuco’s primary focus is on tulip bulbs for the cut flower industry and ‘Ice Cream’ wasn’t a suitable variety. Its extraordinary beauty however, made them change their original course and go ahead with the variety anyway changing their original target group from cut flower nurseries to the potted bulbs and dry bulbs market.” Boltha grows 5 acres of ‘Ice Cream’, the remaining 7,5 acres are spread over the land of three partner growers. “It’s an exclusive product and we want to keep it as such. We expect further but contained growth.” This promising beauty mainly finds her way to consumers through mail order.

Extraordinary looks
‘Ice Cream’ requires some extra attention during the growing process. “It’s quite a demanding lady”, according to Van den Berg. “You have to handle her with care, we do everything by hand for example. You have to pamper her if you want to get the best out of her. But if you do, you truly have a gem.” The amazingly good looks of the double tulip make up for all the extra effort says Van den Berg. “There is a lot of interest for ‘Ice Cream’ in Europe, North America and Japan. In Japan people even say: ‘there are tulips and there is ‘Ice Cream’. Over there, the bulbs are sold individually and gift wrapped and presented like handmade chocolates. It’s a profitable variety with lots of potential.”

At the Keukenhof
Although the critics are full of praise, ‘Ice Cream’ is not a familiar name among the public yet. This is something Boltha wants to focus on this year. “In the upcoming season, we want to do a big promotional campaign at the Keukenhof. Our stand has the ideal space for it and it would be the perfect opportunity.” Boltha has secured itself a crowd-puller as ‘Ice Cream’ had been one of the most photographed varieties in previous editions. “Isn’t this wonderful? The more interest and exposure, the better.”

By Monique Ooms
Photographs by René Faas