While most bulb merchants would rather not talk about it, there's been a concern in the industry for some years now about the quality of the Ziva being sold. A cultivation practice that reduces the number and quality of blossoms has affected much of the world's supply. If you've had less than stellar results from Ziva bulbs recently, it's probably not your fault.
The problem originated with growers who, rather than holding back some large, market-size Ziva bulbs each season to use as the following year's growing stock, began instead to use a different approach. The farmers started planting the tiny bulbs that grow along the sides of healthy mother bulbs. While these small bulbs grew, they never displayed the vigor of prior generations, even when they had "sized up". By the second or third successive year of this, negative results began to surface. In short, the genetics of the plants began to experience a rapid decline. This was most evident in the lackluster flower production.
We've researched the problem, talked with growers in many regions and finally found a family farm in the southern part of Israel with Ziva bulbs that are robust and have not fallen prey to this recent practice. The grower who owns this farm made the tough decision a number of seasons back to forego this newly popularized approach and take no short cuts. To his credit, he assumed that customers would see the quality difference. All our paperwhites now come from this grower. As you select paperwhite bulbs, consider your source - there are many suppliers who are still selling (knowingly or otherwise) bulbs that aren't genetically strong. These paperwhites won't flower freely and dependably.
What we hear day after day during paperwhite season confirms that this grower really is the best out there.
"I didn't know paperwhites bulbs grew this big! And the flowers are gorgeous!"
A photo of Nir blossoms. Too bad the scent can't be shared.
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