A look into the world of storing and preparing flower bulbs

25 Jun 2018

There are rules for the proper storage of flower bulbs. Joost Bakker of Van Zanten Flowerbulbs knows this like no other. 16 years ago he arrived at Royal Van Zanten and over the course of time he started to focus on the storage and preparation of flower bulbs. He is now responsible for millions of flower bulbs every year.

His responsibility starts with the storage of flower bulbs in the cold stores. From entry to departure. Joost: “Although these cold stores are computer controlled, it is and remains very human work, a ‘tough’ that I have developed over the years.” But how does it work in practice? A look into the world of: storage and preparation of flower bulbs. Let’s start with the summer bulbs (tulips and more).

Joost in one of the cold stores of Van Zanten Flowerbuls in the Netherlands

Physical rounds. Twice a day, seven days a week, Joost and his colleagues take physical rounds through each cold store. In addition to checking and recording temperature and humidity, controls also take place on the ethylene level in the air. A high ethylene level can indicate sick bulbs in the cold stores. As soon as this is detected, the batch of bulbs is immediately put into quarantine.

External factors. Besides physical rounds, there are also external factors that have to take into account when controlling the cold store. For example, wind speed, temperature and air humidity. These external factores influence the climate inside the cold store.

Air. What should not be forgotten is: fresh air. Fresh air is very important in the cold stores, this is controlled via valves. Joost: “Too much fresh air in the cold stores causes the bulbs to dry out. If there is too little fresh air, too much ethylene can form in the cold stores, which means that ethylene damage can occur. In summary, regulating fresh air through the valves is very important and secure.”

Development stage. Different temperatures are used in the storage of tulip bulbs. Before the flower development starts, the bulbs have to be stored at a constant warm temperature. When setting the correct temperature, the development stage of the flower inside the bulb must always be determined first. There are six different stages, stage: I, II, P1, A1, A2 and G. Joost: “Because only with this information you can determine the correct temperature and duration in the cold store.”

“To get and keep the flower bulbs in an excellent quality, so that our customers only get the best. My challenge, my passion,”



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