Flower bulb research


Research is one of the foundations of the Dutch flower bulb sector. One important research institute for flower bulb production is the Flower Bulb Research Unit of the Applied Plant Research (PPO). At the facilities of Applied Plant Research (PPO) in Lisse (an organisation previously known as the Flower Bulb Research Centre that was founded in 1917), research activities also focus on nursery stock and fruit. A close working relationship between the various PPO sectors and Wageningen University and Research Centre makes efficient use of the expertise and experience available throughout agriculture and horticulture.


Research conducted throughout the production and distribution chain

The PPO Flower Bulbs Research Unit conducts research in the areas of flower bulb and bulb flower cultivation, plant diseases and crop protection, business economics and business practices, plant physiology and health, fertilising and soil health, environmental impacts, and the consequences of legislation; in other words, all the facets of concern to the bulb sector. In hi-tech greenhouse complexes, conditioned storage and handling rooms, and laboratories, the PPO Flower Bulbs Research Unit works on the latest developments in the production process and in the whole distribution chain. The PPO Flower Bulbs Research Unit has a special diagnostic service that accepts specimens of diseased plants for diagnosis as well as for specific advice.

Familiar with various regions

In addition to its main headquarters in Lisse, PPO also operates in various other bulb-producing regions in the Netherlands. Testing under commercial conditions is regularly conducted at production operations in Julianadorp and Noordbroek. These tests are often conducted at a larger scale in order to obtain an accurate assessment of the consequences for bulb producers. It is at these production operations that integrated and organic production systems are developed and tested for their usefulness. PPO also plays a unique role within the individual flower bulb-producing regions by assisting with the integration of flower bulb production into regional development plans.

Cooperation in many areas

New production systems are being tested in order to find sustainable solutions for more environmentally responsible production. In recent years much has been achieved in this regard, and the cooperation with other sectors has been an important factor in these efforts. Project groups composed of researchers, growers and consultants work together closely to solve problems and initiate new developments. These project groups serve as examples for other production operations. One of these groups, Telen met Toekomst (sustainable production), is stimulating other entrepreneurs to make use of new developments. Lectures, open houses and demonstrations at experimental farms are aiding in efforts to reach the target group, and are helping to ensure that the information gained from research is shared in an efficient manner.

A substantial percentage of these research projects is commissioned by the flower bulb sector itself. Representatives of producers and the trading/export branch are closely involved in the selection and design of these projects. The projects commissioned by the Ministry of Agriculture, Nature and Food Quality are usually based on themes involving several sectors. And there are more and more projects being commissioned by third parties such as suppliers, government agencies and groups of businesses.