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HSC’s Amaryllis Campaign: Behind the Scenes

by Tessa Wood, Van Noort Bulb Co. Ltd.

Amaryllis plants produce showstopping, beautiful blooms at a time of year when blooming colour is scarce. Achieving this burst of mid-winter colour requires little work beyond potting up your bulb and giving it a drink of water. The amaryllis bulb carries all the nutrients and energy it needs to push forth beauty – all on its own.

A big part of achieving these beautiful blooms and sturdy stems start with where they are sourced.

Growers of amaryllis bulbs that supply the beautiful Orange Souvereign variety for the Huntington Society of Canada are based out of the Netherlands. Most of these growers have been in the industry for many years, passionate about the blooms they cultivate. We select growers based on their ability to supply the highest quality bulb (large and firm) and those who are proven performers.

It takes three years in a greenhouse to grow a bulb to the blooming size that is needed before an amaryllis plant can be harvested. In August, the digging process begins, and the amaryllis bulbs are lifted from the soil, and cleaned in preparation for shipment to Canada. All flower bulbs must be inspected by Canada’s regulatory agency before they can be allowed to ship. Removing all soil material from the bulb is essential to making sure the amaryllis pass inspection.

While the bulbs are waiting to be shipped to Canada, they must be stored at about 13°C to avoid any early sprouting. As soon as amaryllis bulbs are placed in a warmer area of about 20 to 25°C they will start sending out roots. Once the amaryllis bulbs have passed inspection by the Canadian Food Inspection Agency on site at our shipping facility in the Netherlands, the bulbs are loaded onto shipping containers and trucked to the port of Antwerp in Belgium.

They spend two weeks safely nestled in their crates, voyaging across the Atlantic Ocean until they reach the Port of Montreal. Just a few more days on a truck across Canada until they reach our shipping facilities in St. Catharines, ON as well as Langley, BC. Once unloaded off the trucks, our production team takes care to gently package up the amaryllis bulbs, checking for any quality issues that may have cropped up during the long journey to Canada.

Now only days away from their new home, these bulbs are shipped out to recipients all over Canada. Once potted, it takes only a matter of weeks before green shoots start to appear. Beginning with the first budding stem that emerges, to watching each magnificent bloom unfold one by one, there is nothing more rewarding than seeing your amaryllis bloom indoors!



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