Quality of Alstroemerias Starts With Good Care

This is how Tesselaar Alstroemeria raises the quality level of the alstros you buy.

By: THURSD. | 21-02-2024 | 6 min read
Floral Education
Tesselaar Alstroemeria quality

It makes sense, right? This simple phrase "Quality starts with good care." You can apply this statement to just about anything. But who truly knows exactly what this "good care" is all about? For instance, when it comes to getting the most out of alstroemeria cut flowers? There is a world to be won when it comes to obtaining and maintaining top quality alstros. That starts with the grower. Let's explore the role that grower Tesselaar Alstroemeria plays raise the quality level of the alstros you buy.

Sustainability & Quality

For most flower traders around the world, the name Tesselaar Alstroemeria is a synonym for quality. For over thirty years Rick and Karolien Tesselaar have been growing this product, constantly learning and improving not only their product but also the way they sustainably run the nursery.


Tesselaar Alstroemeria about quality quote Karolien

Karolien Tesselaar black shirt in greenhouse
Karolien Tesselaar



"The alstroemeria is a flower that deserves a short explanation: compared to other cut flowers, it is more sustainable due to lower temperatures in the greenhouse, less lightning, and extensive use of biological control. We have been calculating the environmental footprint of flowers since 2016 because we believe that there are always issues we can do better. I am therefore committed to making our company more sustainable and spreading the story about our alstroemeria.

We are genuinely committed to sustainability, it is not a matter of having to, but of wanting to. We want to deliver beautiful flowers without harming the environment. We are continuously looking for ways to improve but we strive to produce 100% organic grown alstroemerias."

Tesselaar's alstroemerias grow in the open ground. So, before these beauties start their life, the ground undergoes a bit of a spa treatment. We're talking steaming the soil at high temps to make sure all past plant life and soil critters are out of the picture. It's like hitting the reset button for the soil, ensuring it's all set to nourish the new kids on the block.


Tesselaar Alstroemeria steaming the soil
Steaming the soil


This process causes the old plant material and all soil life to disappear. As soon as the new cuttings have been planted, fertile compost is added so that the soil is fully nourished again. The new cuttings grow into full plants within six weeks from which flower stems are continuously picked.

About Crop Rotation

Now comes the challenge: How to run an alstroemeria sustainably and still get top-notch quality from your flowers?

The Alstroemeria is a perennial plant that has been pampered in the grower's greenhouse. This way a plant produces cut flowers for many years. But how do you determine when a plant needs to be replaced? The rule of thumb at Tesselaar has always been to replace a variety every seven years — or sooner if a plant is affected by a virus. This time frame was chosen from a sustainability point of view, as it takes a lot of energy to remove an old crop, prepare the soil again, and let the new plant grow well.


Tesselaar Alstroemeria checking quality in greenhouse
Constantly monitoring the quality of the alstros


Tesselaar Alstroemeria has been focusing on heavier flowers since the end of 2023, which means that crop rotation must take place more regularly. About 1.5 hectares of the 10 hectares are replaced every year. Tesselaar is now switching to faster replacement. Karolien Tesselaar explains:

"The new shoots of a young crop from our Alstro Lux range are extremely thick and sturdy. For instance, the recently harvested novelty Alstroemeria Bubblicious weighs 100 grams per stem, an unprecedented high. These sturdy stems continue to come off the crop for about two years, after which the weight per stem decreases but production per m2 increases. For us as growers it is a constant calculation: how many stems do we pick per m2 for both a great quality and a good value?

In addition, some crops require more maintenance than others, which involves removing 'empty' shoots that have no flowers on them. These empty shoots take energy from the plant, and we want to put that power into stems with flowers. Every year we scout which species need replacing."


Tesselaar pink alstroemeria elegance in bicycle crate


Finally... Give the Flower Its Full Power

It's not easy to convince a cut flower trader, the first piece in the floral chain and initial customers of a grower, that alstroemerias perform better when they are allowed to be purchased just a little riper. There is a long ongoing discussion about whether flowers ought to be raw when sold. Raw simply means the flowers have been cut in a closed stage so they can be transported more easily, with more flowers in a container or box. It does not mean at all they are fresher and will last longer. For flowers like alstroemeria, the opposite is true; when they have been given more time in the soil they have received more nutrition and will stay longer and stronger.

Karolien stated in an earlier article on Thursd about the topic Ripe vs. Raw:

"When we harvest the flowers riper, the colors become even more intense. It would make the flower more appealing since you can see the color already coming up. In short: it is best to sell the flower more open, about two to three days older, so you still have a bunch of flowers that lasts at least two weeks. This gives the flower its full power."


Tesselaar pink alstroemeria bouquet


The Takeaway for Florists

So, what's the takeaway for florists? Quality starts from the ground up — literally. It's a mix of science, love, and strategic planning that brings those vibrant alstroemerias from the greenhouse to our shops. Tesselaar Alstroemeria's approach shows us that caring for the environment and pushing for quality blooms go hand in hand. Next time you hold an alstroemeria stem, remember the journey it's been on.

Having said that... how can you as a florist or consumer get the most out of these flowers, rewarding the hard work the grower has done? You might start by trying to get your flowers already a bit open, so the color clearly starts to show. Don't worry about the shelf life, because when the grower does its job well, the flowers have so much energy you will be able to use them for a long time.


Tesselaar Alstroemeria bouquet


Your first action in the shop is to let the flowers hydrate. When those alstroemeria stems first land in your shop, give them a fresh cut at a 45-degree angle. This not only makes them look sharp but also maximizes the surface area for water uptake. Plunge them into clean, cool water mixed with a floral conditioner. This magical concoction is like a health drink for flowers, keeping bacteria at bay and providing nutrients.

Next, temperature matters. Alstroemerias enjoy cooler spots away from direct sunlight, heat sources, or draughty areas. Keeping them cool extends their vase life, allowing those intricate patterns and colors to shine through for as long as possible.


Tesselaar red alstroemeria on a bed

Let's talk about the environment. These flowers are a bit like us; they don't appreciate hanging out in a smoky room or next to ripening fruit. Ethylene gas is the culprit here, causing blooms to age before their time. So, keep them in a clean, fresh environment, and they'll return the favor with lasting beauty.

Water is their best friend, but cleanliness is a close second. Change the water and trim the stems every couple of days to fend off bacteria and give your alstroemerias the spa treatment they deserve.

If you then enjoy your alstros as the growers from Tesselaar Alstroemeria have done for over three decades, you can't go wrong!


All photos courtesy of @tesselaaralstroemeria.


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