Interview with Amaryllis Bulb Farm Partner: Charles Barnhoorn of Hadeco

South African flower bulb grower Charles Barnhoorn of Hadeco is one of our valued farm partners. He supplies us with our amaryllis bulbs — a specialty of Hadeco’s and a holiday favorite amongst Gardenuity employees and customers.

Hadeco, a flower bulb farm based in South Africa, was founded by two Hollanders — one of which is Charles’s grandfather. It has blossomed into one of the largest flower bulb growing companies in the world and we’re so pleased to be partnering with them.

We spoke to Charles to get a little insight into his life as a flower bulb grower and few tips on growing holiday amaryllis.

Q: How did you get started in the plant production business?

I was born into a family of bulb farmers. My grandfather left Holland in 1946 to begin growing bulbs in South Africa, and my father continued his work. As a child, I played in the bulb warehouses and fields after school. Once I completed college in Cape Town, I trained on bulb farms in Holland and California before joining Hadeco near Johannesburg. I love plants and gardening, and I love my work.

Q: Do you have a favorite hobby?

I enjoy many outdoor hobbies, including climbing, hiking, scuba diving, and paragliding.

Q: What was the last book you read?

I am currently reading Tailspin by Sandra Brown and In Patagonia (and English travel book) by Bruce Chatwin.

Q: What are your top three care tips for getting the most out of holiday amaryllis blooms?

  1. Plant in a sandy medium — not pure peat. Heavier, sandier media is better.
  2. Provide as much light for the plant as possible.
  3. Water once a week initially. After a month of growth, step it up to twice a week

Q: What is the most creative way you have seen people display blooming amaryllis?

The kokadama display is my favorite. It’s where the bulb is wrapped tightly in moss. Displays, where the plants are hung upside down on wires, are also quite exciting.

Q: What is your favorite holiday tradition?

In the southern hemisphere, we have hot sunny weather at Christmas. So my favorite holiday tradition is what South Africans call a ‘braai’ — essentially a barbecue on the beach.

Q: What is your favorite plant?

Probably my orchids — especially the vandas. That being said, I think the real joy of plants is in the diversity. Each kind has different needs and gives you something special back.

This holiday season Gardenuity is thrilled to be introducing the Alfresco Holiday Amaryllis Bulb from Charles.

The Alfresco Amaryllis bulbs are a holiday favorite for good reason; they produce beautiful, double and sometimes triple pure white flowers that grow 6” across presenting full-petaled white blooms with chartreuse centers. Each bulb usually produces up to 2-3 stems with 5-8 flowers per stem and blooms 6-8 weeks after planting.