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Nature, Tulips | 99 percent of the roses sold in Norway are from Africa

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Nature, Tulips |  99 percent of the roses sold in Norway are from Africa

However, we are completely self-sufficient with tulips. – If you want to give someone some attention on Valentine’s Day, it should certainly be something produced in this country, says one of Norway’s largest tulip producers.

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Today is “All hearts’ day”, also called Valentine’s Day – a day to celebrate love, which Norway, and many other countries, have imported from the USA.

In recent years, it has become more and more “usual” for us Norwegians to mark this day, preferably by paying a little attention to someone you love. For many, that means flowers, and preferably red roses.

But did you know that 99 per cent of the roses sold in this country are imported from Africa?

Tulip producer Sebastian Schouten therefore strikes a blow to give a bouquet of tulips to a lucky person on Valentine’s Day.

– If you want to give some flowers that have been produced in Norway, you should definitely give tulips instead of roses, he says.

20 million tulips

At Lierstrand, the Schouten family has been producing tulips since the mid-90s. Annually, 20 million tulips in all possible colors and sizes are sent from the nursery throughout Norway through Bama Blomster.

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– We are completely self-sufficient in tulips in Norway. If it is not 100 per cent, then 99 per cent of the tulips that you can buy in Norway are Norwegian, says Schouten.

He and his father started tulip production together in 1995. Before that, both had extensive experience working in horticulture – and especially with tulips.

– My grandparents worked with tulips in the Netherlands. My father was not a nobleman, so he traveled to Norway and met my Norwegian mother who ran a flower shop. The whole family has been working with flowers for several generations.

Today, it is Sebastian and his sister Christel who run Schouten Gartneri.

Can get them “perfect”

Tulips have always been at the center of the variety of flowers that the Schouten family has produced over the years. “Extra challenges” meant that they chose to invest heavily in tulips in particular.

– What I like most about tulips is that it is possible to control them to make them absolutely perfect. You can decide that tulips should bloom on a specific day in a specific color.

But there is a lot of work behind it. If the manufacturers make a small change, they get changes all the way.

– What I like best is that we have the opportunity to influence whether they should be long or short, good or bad. If we make a mistake, we will see it the following week, he says.

This is how you make the tulips last as long as possible:

  • Buy the tulips when they are in bud.
  • Cut the stems straight off, and place directly in cold water without removing the packaging. Let them soak up water for at least an hour before removing the packaging. In this way, they are well soaked with water and become juicy and springy.
  • Avoid too much water in the vase so that the tulips do not become long and droopy. Refill often with fresh water.
  • Avoid leaving them in drafts or near heating elements, and preferably keep them cool at night.
  • Then just enjoy the beautiful and colorful flowers.
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Source: Gartnerforbundet

Out of the EU

In the Norwegian market, there are three producers who account for 90 percent of tulip production. In total, 70 million tulips are produced in Norway annually. Schouten is the second largest of the three.

– The Swedes have their own production, and are a member of the EU. This means that they get easier access to tulips from the EU’s internal market.

– Is it okay that Norway is not in the EU for that reason?

– Yes, it’s a bit nice. There is no doubt about that.

The most popular color

Norwegians are traditional creatures and prefer red tulips for Christmas and yellow for Easter. Apart from these colors, there is a type of tulip that is extra popular throughout the winter season.

– Tulips in pink tones are very popular – both dark and light, says Schouten.

The tulip season in Norway is from the end of October, until around Easter time.

– Tulips bloom naturally outside in May. In addition, we are a bit traditional in Norway, so when spring comes, we think primarily of gardening.

Tulips do not thrive in heat. Interest in these cut flowers is therefore low in the summer months.

– They like themselves best at 20-25 degrees.

Preference over the rose

Sebastian Schouten is optimistic about the future of Norwegian tulip production.

– We have a product that is in demand and is adaptable. I buy raw materials all the time, so I can change colors and sizes continuously.

He believes the Norwegian wholesalers prefer to have manufacturers close to them – and not on the other side of the globe.

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– If you need more or fewer flowers, we have the option to adjust production up or down in relation to the sales in question. It is a little more difficult with our main competitor which is African roses. They must be ordered a long time in advance, and once it has been ordered, you cannot adjust the order based on demand.

If you increase the temperature in the greenhouse slightly, production is increased by 10-20 percent. If you lower the temperature, production is reduced. To get a finished tulip, it takes 6-7 weeks.

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