Maatschap Kersten Hegeman grows Hippeastrum in two main varieties, Ambiance and Red Lion, on 3.2 ha. Almost everything is manual work, which is why they are supported by seasonal workers during the harvesting season. For each variety, the greenhouse is divided into four sections to spread the harvest and labor from October to Christmas.
Every 2 to 3 years, the crop is uprooted from a small hectare and the greenhouses are emptied. The soil is steamed. The bulbs are cleaned, sorted and ‘cooked’ at about 45/47 degrees. Cooking prevents any diseases from getting back into the clean soil. The bulbs are then planted out to size to get as uniform a crop as possible at harvest time. By mid-March, all bulbs should be planted back and the growing season can begin. The crop can grow to a height of about 125 cm, and is supported by netting so that the leaves remain upright for optimum growth.
From early September, the leaves are removed to allow the flower to develop freely. After some more leaf picking, the stems come into view and harvesting can take place after a few weeks.
Besides cut flowers, bulbs are also waxed in six colors (red, white, Christmas red, gold, silver, bronze and natural). Three sizes of bulbs are used for waxing, which are sure to bloom. The bulbs are coated with a protective layer and two layers of colored wax. A very labor-intensive process, everything is done manually.