Premium Variety lily bulbs

‘Palazzo’ and ‘Crystal Blanca’ high quality and healthy bulbs

In recent months, flower bulb production in the Netherlands has focused on the lily bulb harvest.

Cultivars such as ‘Palazzo’ and ‘Crystal Blanca’, from the Premium Varieties assortment, have now been harvested and the results are satisfactory. Despite the cool growing season, the harvest exists of good quality bulbs.
Based on the earlier predictions, it seemed as if lily bulbs would not exhibit a very high yield this year. Johan Pennings of vof Th.A. Pennings en Zonen in Julianadorp agrees. He attributes this to a cold spring that greatly delayed growth. “As evidence of this, we waited an additional ten days to remove the flowers. What followed was a relatively cool summer – especially September. During this important growth period, there were was a shortage of warm days and more rain than usual. All in all, we started harvesting a week later because the crop hadn’t matured enough before then.”

Despite the difficult growing season, Pennings, whose fields produce solely OT and Oriental lily bulbs, is satisfied with the results. The one-year-old bulbs are grown on contract in Drenthe; the two-year-old bulbs are sold, and the starting material is kept ‘at home’. Pennings: “We started lifting ‘Robina’ on the 24th of November. Harvesting started on a good note but we were faced with a lot of rain later. Our contract grower in particular had difficulty finding enough times when his field could be worked but he still managed not to damage his bulbs. The processing, too, simply proceeded as usual.” By mid-December, lifting is almost done but processing is still in full swing. “We’re lifting nice healthy bulbs,” says Pennings who speaks of an average harvest. “The bulbs themselves are not very heavy but we’re pleased with the numbers we’re selling. Things also look good for the OTs, especially the reliable ‘Palazzo’. It exhibits both good bulb production and good flower production, it results in a strong crop, and its flowers retain their colour as they open and mature.” In general, OTs are somewhat easier to grow than Orientals like ‘Crystal Blanca’. “We just started processing this variety but as far as I can see now, the bulbs will definitely be lighter than last year’s when we had a bumper harvest. This year’s harvest is average.”

Enough bulbs
Erwin Vriend, a lily bulb reprehensive at CNB, is familiar with this story. “The general impression is that fewer lily bulbs are being harvested. This has to do with low temperatures in the spring and summer and poor lifting conditions due to too much rain. There were also several cases of virus damage caused particularly by PlAMV and LMoV.” Vriend and his colleagues see this throughout all the lily groups: the Longiflorums, Asiatics, LAs, Orientals and OTs. Even so, one reason why there will still be enough bulbs on the market this year is that more hectares were devoted to lily bulb production. “If we had the same big harvest as we did last year, things would be entirely different. Although supplies aren’t insufficient enough to warrant a rise in prices, the opposite isn’t true either. Even so, we’re having more problems with selling the bulbs in the older assortment. This is simply because the new varieties now available are better.” Source: BloembollenVisie By: Jeannet Pennings Photography: René Faas