Last summer was beautiful, which means the Amaryllises have had a great opportunity to grow and therefore, the quality of this year’s flower bulbs is simply stunning. One of our most frequently asked questions is why Fluwel is so late when it comes to selling Amaryllises. Later on in this newsletter, I will explain the reason for this.
This year’s assortment is very extensive: we have 90 different varieties available. Not a hundred, like last year: I have gotten rid of a few that didn’t add much to the diversity of the assortment. But, as you would probably expect, there are also a few new varieties in the collection.
Every year I plant a few bulbs of every Amaryllis in our assortment in my own living room. I do this to see them for myself, to compare the varieties and of course to make sure that we have sent out the correct flower bulbs to our customers. For these ideas we usually use large pots to plant 3 or even 5 Amaryllis bulbs: that looks fantastic when they are in full bloom. All in all, we usually plant a few hundred bulbs once we get started.
If you want to give an Amaryllis as a gift, then you might want to consider also buying an Amaryllis vase. When you plant an Amaryllis in this vase you don’t need any soil, but the result will be just as beautiful.
The Amaryllises-forest is starting to become a fun an educational tradition in our household. As soon as the invasion of flower bulbs in the living room starts, Jacqueline asks if there need to be sooo many? But once they start showing their flowers it is always amazing.
But the most important part of this annual flower bulb forest is to see how the Amaryllises do inside the house. By looking at them every day I can judge which Amaryllis looks better than others, which are disappointing and which are exceptional.
I then put next year’s assortment together using the knowledge I have acquired inside my own house. Checking whether the variety is correct is also an important part of this, I absolutely do not want to send out the wrong flower bulb. If you ever find yourself looking at an Amaryllis that is a different variety than the one you ordered, please make sure to let us know.
This brings me to the reason that we only start selling Amaryllises on November 1st.
Like the tulip or any other flower bulb, the Amaryllis needs a period of rest after she has flowered. This doesn’t need to be as cold as the tulip needs, because the Amaryllis comes from a different part of the world, but it is important nonetheless.
The Amaryllis originally comes from subtropical conditions: places in South America, where it is never really cold. But those places still have a lower temperature in the winter than they do in the summer. For a few months, the average temperature is about 10 to 15 degrees Celsius. That is also exactly what this Amaryllis needs to flower.
Our Amaryllises all come from Amaryllis growers in the Westland, just south of The Hague, where they are grown in massive greenhouses. From February/March until now, the Amaryllises have been happily growing in a protected environment.
In August, the flowers are large enough, and the growers start digging them. In the photo above you can see Amaryllis grower Bram van Staalduinen show me the future flower of the Amaryllis bulb: at the moment the bulbs are dug, the flower is already there, safely hidden inside the bulb.
During the growing period of the Amaryllis, the future flowers of the Amaryllis are already there. But this flower doesn’t immediately get to bloom when a bulb is planted in the living room: the Amaryllis bulb first has to think that winter is over before she starts to grow her flowers.
After the bulbs are dug, they are being shipped over to our warehouse around August. We could ship them to our customers straight away in September, but then they would not have had their period of winter rest.
To recreate that important winter period, we keep the Amaryllises in our own warehouse during September and October. In this period of time, they are kept at a temperature of 13 to 15 degrees Celsius. During this time, the flowers inside the bulb only grow larger, and the flowers you will get in your home will be all the more beautiful because of it. If you plant the bulb in your home after this period, it will think that the winter has passed and that it is now spring, and therefore time to shine.
I often see mistakes then it comes to Amaryllises. Sometimes bulbs take a long time to start growing and flowering. Or the Amaryllises do have a flower, but it is only one stem, and the second one doesn’t show up for another few weeks. The third may not even show up at all.
This slow and irregular growth of the Amaryllis is often because they haven’t had a proper period of winter rest: there has been no period of ‘cold’ after they have been dug. Therefore, I think it is very important to give the flower bulbs enough rest in our own warehouse, so they will be at their best in your home. So, this is the reason we only start selling them on November 1st.
I hope you will find yourself some beautiful Amaryllises in our assortment and that they bring you as much joy as they have brought me.
Carlos van der Veek