For hyacinth propagation, growers traditionally use mature bulbs. These mother bulbs are three or four years old, and have therefore been exposed to diseases and pests for years. The starting material for a new crop can therefore be contaminated from the start. That is why the Greenhouse Horticulture and Flower Bulbs Business Unit of Wageningen University & Research is investigating whether the bulbs can be cultivated cleaner and faster in a greenhouse, in order to break the circle.
The research takes place in the greenhouses of the research location in Bleiswijk. Tissue culture material is cultivated for 1 or 2 years into mother bulbs, of which, after propagation, some of the bulblets in turn grow into mother bulbs. The idea is that the rest of the bulblets can be further cultivated outdoors into cut flowers, flower bulbs on pots or bulbs for dry sales.
The bulbs are grown in boxes with substrate and are given water and nutrients. As a result, the growth process can be accelerated and managed better; moreover, the bulbs grow more evenly than when grown in the open field. And the most important advantage: the bulbs are protected against various diseases (bacteria in particular are a problem in Hyacinth), which means that the use of pesticides can be drastically reduced at the same time.
The research Vital cultivation of hyacinth is a collaboration between WUR, a number of cultivation companies and companies in the chain and has received a POP3 subsidy from the Province of South Holland and a contribution from the Hagelunie.