Rivercities Garden Club

Meeting 3/6/2011

Program - Gardening with Southern Bulbs

There are several type of root like structures that are planted.  Corms have a solid root like structure.  Examples are glads, freezia and crocosmia.  A tuber has stem tissue with "eyes" such as potatoes.  Rhizomes have a horizontal root like structure like iris, callas, and cannas.  Tuberous roots - fleshy roots w/growing point at top such as dahlia, ranunculus, and the daylily.   A true bulb is comprised of a compressed stem, or basal plate, and modified leaves called scales serve as the primary storage tissue. Think of an onion.

Bulbs never completely dry out.  During the winter or dry periods the leaves die back.  During this period the bulbs can be moved with no complications.  Also during this period the flower primordial develop.  Bulbs must go through a dormant period and will not regrow without this dormancy.   When favorable conditions come the roots and leaves regrow and the flower develops. They need watering if it's dry while their foliage is up. Watering over summer is not necessary because they don�t have roots and might rot. Fertilize while the foliage is there, they can�t use it any other time (no roots). Don�t mess with the foliage, let it do it's job.

There are two types of dormancy response.  The cold response such as seen in Dutch tulips need to be transplanted in the summer when the leaves turn yellow.  Tropical bulbs (wet - dry response) can be transplanted after the foliage dies down.  Transplant spider lily's in early summer.

Dutch bulbs are to be planted in the fall. Hyacinths, Lilies, Grape hyacinths, and crocus will rebloom for severaldafodils years  Daffodils are the true perennials for the South.

You should consider tulips as annuals here in the south.  Both tulips and hyacinths require refrigeration for six weels to complete the dormancy period.

early perfection daffodilThe best heirloom daffodils are N. x odorus - Campernelle jonquil; N. italicus - Early Perfection; N. biflorus -Twin Sisters or April Beauty and N. x intermedius - Texas Star.  Others are White - 'Thalia'; Mini - 'Tete a Tete'; Pink - �Mrs. R.O. Backhouse'.

Heirloom daffodils are a bit rare and often fragrant.  They will survive and are collectible in modern times because they have superior characteristics that have stood the test of time. More tolerant of adverse environmental conditions, they survive, reproduce and bloom prolifically with no care except

Reasons why bulbs might not bloom

The Speaker -  Denyse Cummins

Denyse CumminsDenyse is the area horticulture agent in the Shreveport.  She is also the horticulture county agent with the Louisiana Cooperative Extension Service.  Ms Cummins originated the Master Gardener Program in Lafayette and is now the coordinator of the Northwest Louisiana Master Gardener Program.    She graduated from the  Colorado State University with a MS in floriculture in 1991.  Bulbs are her favorite type of plant. 



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