In 1965, the Dutch Flowerbulb Industry made the unique decision to start a research program at an American university. In 2015 the research program celebrates it’s 50th anniversary. The research program started at Michigan State University under supervision of August A.(Gus) de Hertogh. In 1978, the research program moved to North Carolina State University. Since 1998, the research program is performed at Cornell University in Ithaca (NY) by Bill Miller.
The research program has proven to be very important for the development and expansion of the North American market for flowerbulbs and bare-root perennials. The focus of the research program is to generate technical information for the professional North American growers of bulbous flowers, either as potted plant or cut-flower and advices regarding the use of flowerbulbs and perennials in landscaping or for use in private gardens and in containers.
Landscaping trials are focused on the performance of bulb crops and cultivars in the various climate zones, combination planting of flower bulbs and perennials and research on perennialization of lily bulbs in various landscaping locations. A current trial is to test the planting-depth of spring flowering bulbs in combination with mulching.
The technical information for the professional North American growers has contributed to ensure that growing fresh cut-flowers and flowering potted plants from December to May is a profitable part of their business. Annually new cultivars, of tulips, daffodils, hyacinths, etc., are tested for their performance in the greenhouse. Throughout the fifty years trials have been performed with plant growth regulators (PGR) for height control. For lilies a timing tool has been developed. Last year a trial was performed to test the performance of a bare root perennials compared with the performance of plugs of the same cultivar. Also tests are performed to improve post-harvest quality.
Results of the Flowerbulb Research Program can be found on their website.