July 26, 2018

Breakthrough in tulip bulb propagation

Dümmen Orange, in collaboration with IribovSBW, has developed a new method to significantly speed up the propagation of tulip bulbs.

Dümmen Orange, in collaboration with IribovSBW, has developed a new method to significantly speed up the propagation of tulip bulbs. The tissue culture method increases the multiplication rate of a single tulip bulb from three to several thousand per year. This ground-breaking result brings new opportunities for the tulip sector.

After the acquisition of Hobaho by Dümmen Orange two years ago, the existing collaboration with IribovSBW has intensified to speeding up bulb propagation. The newly developed laboratory-based propagation process uses starting material from one single tulip bulb. After about one year, the tissue culture-derived small bulbs were allowed to further develop in a soil mixture to get to bulb sizes ready for flowering. Last spring successful flowering trials took place in the open field at the Hobaho Testcentrum Siergewassen (Ornamental Crops Trial Centre) in Lisse, the Netherlands.

Universities, research institutes and commercial laboratories have been working on speeding up the propagation of tulip bulbs for many decades. At present the average multiplication factor of a flower bulb is three per growing season, a figure that has barely risen at all since the introduction of the tulip in the 16th century. As a result, the development of a new commercial assortment and sustainable cultivation has been a very slow process up to now.

Hans van den Heuvel, Managing Director R&D Dümmen Orange: “A breeding process that takes more than 20 years is not an effective way of responding to changes in consumer and market needs. This revolutionary breakthrough drastically changes the dynamics of the tulip breeding process that eventually should not take longer than six to seven years. It gives us a good competitive edge and the confidence that we and our partners can add value in this important product group.”

Eloy Boon, Founder and CEO of IribovSBW: "We are proud of this first result from our research programme into crops that are difficult to propagate. Our interactive working relationship with Dümmen Orange has enabled everything to happen at high speed. We are still investigating how the tulip propagation process can be further optimized and are preparing implementation on a commercial scale."
Foeke Gardenier, General Manager Hobaho by Dümmen Orange: "There is an urgent need in the sector for the rapid introduction of new cultivars with unique ornamental and horticultural value and traits that promotes sustainable cultivation. This technology will make that happen. I am proud to be part of the team that brought this breakthrough."


Dümmen Orange is a leading company in the breeding and development of cut flowers, bulbs, tropical plants, pot plants, bedding plants and perennials. Its annual turnover is around €350 m. The company employs over 7,700 people worldwide. In addition to a large marketing and sales network, Dümmen Orange has a diversified network of specialized production sites. The key to the success of Dümmen Orange is a broad and deep product range, supported by a global supply chain. The company embraces its social responsibilities and invests in the health, safety and personal development of its staff.

IribovSBW is an independent laboratory that provides plant propagation, quality-control, diagnostics and molecular breeding services. Most of its turnover comes from large-scale production from tissue culture, and it also uses cell biological and molecular techniques in breeding projects of third parties. Its research is focused primarily on crops that are difficult to propagate. The company has wide-ranging expertise in more than 400 crops in the ornamental and fruit and vegetable segments. IribovSBW is an international company with 370 employees and branches in the Netherlands, Macedonia and Ghana.


For more information:
Natasja van Ruiten –Dümmen Orange – Marketing and Communication Specialist
Email: nvanruiten@hobaho.nl ; Tel. +31 625 475 804

Eloy Boon – IribovSBW – CEO
Email: eloy.boon@iribov.com ; Tel. +31 681 481 022