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    This week at FloraPodium

    Helianthus annuus 'ProCut® White nite'


    This Helianthus is available from June to the end of September


    In the spotlights

    Vincent van Gogh, the world-famous painter, is among other things known for his beautiful sunflower paintings. This large cheerful flower is, thanks to him, also known worldwide. His beautiful paintings remind us of the beautiful landscapes in France, where the hills are full of sunflowers and it gives you a real summer feeling.

    We visited the Van Boksel Agro Service V.O.F nursery. Where Jan van Boksel cultivates this international beauty. We were introduced to the most beautiful varieties of sunflowers and for a moment we thought we were in sunny France. Unfortunately it rained terribly hard this day and we were rapidly remembered of our own Dutch climate. The romantic holiday atmosphere was immediately lost. Yet we wanted to know everything about the cultivation of this summer flower and how it can be grown in our own climate.


    Position of the flower head

    One of the most famous features of the sunflower is the position of its cheerful head. The sunflower is a real sun worshiper; she turns her head with the position of the sun. You can also see this happening in the vase. In the evening, when the sun goes down, the head looks to the east. Here she waits until the sun rises again. Not every florist likes using sunflowers in a bouquet. Sunflowers are stubborn and the heads are not always in the right position for using in a bouquet.

    One of the most striking features of the Vincent® Sunflowers is the way these flowers stand tall. They do not 'hang' their heads, but stand up, making them look proud when they are in the vase.


    The sunflower

    Everyone recognizes the sunflower mainly by its beautiful summer yellow color. Due to breeding, several other colors have been brought to market in recent years. Red and orange are no longer strange colors.

    Jan currently grows eight different types of sunflowers. Each variety is unique and distinguishes itself in its own way. One of these varities has a color that we will gradually become acquainted with in the flower world. The Helianthus ProCut "White Nite". The name says it all, this sunflower is white.
    The unique color of this flower was a good reason for us to highlight this product and put it in our spotlights.

    "White Nite" opens its flowers with a creamy vanilla color that turns to white with a few days of sunlight. In contrast to the dark center and the fresh green leaves, this gives an amazing effect.
    The large field filled with "White Nite" made a crushing impression on us, despite the rain. Where most sunflowers have dark green leaves, this variety is characterized by its fresh light green leaves. The lovely soft green leaves and creamy white colored flowers make this sunflower special and enchanting. A definite eye catcher in every flower stall!


    Jan's tip

    Sunflowers are sun worshipers, but not in the vase. It could even be that the sun may cause the sunflowers to hang their heads. If so, it is best to put the flowers outside overnight. "You will see that they will recover completely!" said Jan. It also helps to cut them and put them in warm water; they will lift their heads again.


    van boksel

    The cultivation

    While Jan van Boksel was still a student he was already working a lot. Right after completing his studies at 21 years of age, he used the money he had saved to build a nursery in the beautiful town of Hedel. Since 2003 he has been expanding continuously and now they already have more than 60 hectares at their disposal!


    Lots of land

    Jan grows sunflowers both outside and in the greenhouse. The first sunflowers in the season can be cut in the first weeks of June. These are grown in the greenhouse. The first outside grown sunflowers will be ready in mid-June (depending on the weather of course). In general, the quality of the outside sunflowers is better than that of the sunflowers from the greenhouse. The flowers are a bit more hardened, as we call it. The buds often are larger as well.

    Every eight weeks, Jan sows new sunflowers, which he then places in the soil himself. The seeds of the white sunflowers are supplied by Evanthia, a seed supplier. Jan is a true seasonal grower. In addition to the summer sunflower cultivation, Jan grows chrysanthemums in the fall and peonies in the spring.


    Pollenless and propagation

    The cultivar ProCut "White Nite" is supplied by American breeder Tom Heaton. Only two companies in the Netherlands currently have this special variety in production. The first varieties of white sunflowers are not yet perfect in both cultivation and vase life, but are certainly gaining in popularity among florists.

    Even though we prefer to see a somewhat longer vase life, this special sunflower variety is definitely worth considering. Very suitable for a wedding, a big event or another special occasion; "White Nite" is unique, special and can be used for just about anything because of its color.

    The flower has no pollen, but is propagated by seed. This is possible because the product is both a "male" and a "female". This is called F1 Hybrid. As a result, seeds are still being developed, even though the product has no pollen. Ideal for people with hay fever or allergy complaints.


    Gelderse river clay

    Hedel is a town in the province of Gelderland, bordering on the river Maas. The soil where Jan grows therefore mainly consists of river clay.

    He told us that this clay naturally contains many nutrients, which gives the flowers a beautiful leaf color. The sunflowers in the Vincent's Choice series are therefore strong, vigorous and less sensitive to day length compared to other sunflowers. This makes it possible to sow and harvest the entire season. Great to always get top quality in the available period.


    FloraPodium, 27 June 2019





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