Scored a 'Piquant' at Home Depot

Noni MorrisonOctober 30, 2009

I know its an old one but one I have not tried before, if it really is what it claims to be. It is a bit like a TV game show...which box holds teh real "piquant". I opened 3 boxes to check. First one showed 2 buds coming, 2nd one had the bud wound all the way around the inside of the box in a square and was almost ready to bloom, and the 3rd had no bud or growth showing at all. I bought the first one. I was surprised at the poor condition already, with it still October, even though these were only $5.95. They looked like they were packaged months ago!

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I'm sometimes shocked by the poor condition of some of the boxed kits sold... and it seems to get worse as time passes. Well... this is why we always recommend opening and checking every box to find the best bulbs. It's almost as though the leftovers from late last season are sold first, and waiting for Christmas brings the better bulbs, the fresh ones.

Even so, it's fun to find a bargain... and kind of like an adventure, opening all the boxes to find the best prize.

    Bookmark   October 30, 2009 at 3:55AM
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I also bought a Piquant, but from Lowe's. I opened a lot of boxes before I decided on one, but I did find a decent bulb, good size and several white, plump roots. I have also looked at a lot of Apple Blossoms and all of them look like what Jodi described as left over from last season. Maybe closer to the holidays, there might be some nicer ones.

    Bookmark   October 30, 2009 at 12:14PM
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Noni Morrison

My Piquant said on the box that it was from Israel. I had not thought of that as a supply place. Anyone know anything more about this?

    Bookmark   October 30, 2009 at 6:35PM
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I noticed that on a box last year... I haven't given it much thought, but I suppose any country with the proper climate, and any company with the proper coolers and equipment could just as well produce hippeastrums as an export product. Interesting.

    Bookmark   October 31, 2009 at 8:22AM
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kaboehm (zone 9a, TX USA)

Chris from Southern Bulbs said that Isrell is fast becoming a major grower of amaryllis (and other bulbs too). Guess it doesn't matter if their stock comes from Holland and is grown in Israel.

I just looked online and it says 10 Israeli growers supply 6% of the worlds amaryllis. Here's the text...note that it's dated 2003, and I bet the figures are higher.



Nearly 28% of the residents of the Beit Shean Valley Regional Council work in agriculture, as opposed to approximately 2% of Israel's general population. These farmers work-but they don't always make a living. In the 21st century, traditional agriculture does not represent a sure source of income. In order to succeed, farmers often must cultivate growth programs for unique crops and use new technologies not often found in the agricultural sector.

Carmela and Aryeh Yitzchak from Tel Te'omim analyzed the situation and after much hard work, have built a remarkable farm. On the job as an agricultural consultant, Aryeh learned about the amaryllis flower-very large, bell-shaped flowers that are in great demand abroad during the Christmas season. This area of farming demands great expertise. For that reason, only ten Israeli growers supply 6% of the global demand for the amaryllis, about 30 million bulbs annually. Aryeh has used technology extensively in his amaryllis greenhouse, and by doing so, he has given himself a significant edge over his competitors.

It should be noted that MATI Beit Shean assisted Aryeh throughout the period in which he set up and developed his amaryllis farm. Up to now, we have assisted Aryeh in two efforts to mobilize capital so that he could construct the greenhouses. In both instances, the Jewish Agency helped him out with funding from their special settler's budget funds. The first business plan was written up in 1999, and with the capital raised he constructed 3,000 sq. meters of greenhouses for the cultivation of amaryllis bulbs for export, in addition to the existing 1,500 sq. meters.

The greenhouses were equipped with very advanced technological systems. All the flowers are grown in detached, aboveground bedding, underneath which a drainage system removes excess water. The excess water flows to a collection point, where it is filtered and recycled for reuse. Irrigation and fertilizer controls, as well as humidity and temperature controls in the greenhouse, are automatically computer-monitored. The roof of the greenhouse is a dual-purpose thermal sheet, which is controlled by a UV radiation meter and temperature and humidity sensors, inside and outside the structure. Temperature stability is also achieved through an extensive fogging system, which helps balance the humidity. Aryeh sums up the entire approach: "The computer asks the plant 'How are you?' every ten minutes, and depending on the answer, it makes decisions about the breeding regimen and work in the greenhouse."

Recently we were successful in getting Aryeh and Carmela more funding, also from the Jewish Agency, in order to improve their growing cycle even more, including the mechanization of the extraction and packing processes of the bulbs, as well as developing ways to grow material that allows the flowers to multiply independently, instead of having to buy it from other growers, as they've done until now.

There's no doubt that agriculture could be revitalized if and when we learn how to harness technology to further improve results in various crops. Carmela and Aryeh Yitzchak are examples that this is possible. Recently, their amaryllis greenhouse has become a sort of tourist site, and we at MATI Beit Shean are planning on helping Aryeh design his farm to accommodate agro-tourism, a trend that will expand in the coming years and also contribute to the rejuvenation of agriculture.

Adar Bet 5763 - March 2003

Here is a link that might be useful: Amaryllis in Israel

    Bookmark   October 31, 2009 at 9:44AM
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Noni Morrison

A most interesting article, Kristi! Love that idea of a drain under the plants that recycles the water to other usage! Maybe I should set that up in my new greenhouse? ThInk I could go for Ecotourism on Vashon? Sure, on my earnings from my flower business? I might make enough to keep me in coffee after 10 years, when I am 73? But what a lot of fun to think about!

    Bookmark   October 31, 2009 at 12:52PM
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I'm going to have to start looking on the boxes for the source. I had no idea Israel! Really, I'm in the wrong business, I should be growing rare amaryllis.
Tally HO!

    Bookmark   November 3, 2009 at 10:03AM
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Interestingly enough, the bulb that I just got with the NBF hole in it actually originated in Israel...

    Bookmark   November 3, 2009 at 11:07AM
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