Program: Planting and the Care of Bulbs - Joyce Ahearn
Mrs. Ahearn has worked 13 years at Akins Nursery. She is now partially retired and spending more time in her garden. She was born on a farm north Kansas. Her mother and dad were farmers. When she was in the 3rd grade her dad & three brothers bought seedlings and planted them in their back yard; and this was the origin of her father's landscape busi ness. After Joyce left the farm she taught music many years but her interest in plants has persisted. She says that she "loves to rescue plants that are going to die and save them."
Joyce recommended the following books: Garden Bulbs for the South by Scott Ogden and Plants Don t Do What You Tell em To by Jack Aulis. Better Homes & Garden, Oct., 2000, "How To Force Bulbs".
Akin's Nursery has the following free pamphlets available: a. Planning the Flowerbulb Garden b. Forcing Bulbs for Pleasure c.Flowerbulbs are Easy
Bulbs can provide color year around. Plant bulbs based on their season. Plant bulbs in fall for spring flowers.
A) Plan well in advance before purchasing bulbs.
Consider height of bulbs
Consider blossom color
Consider time of bloom
early spring, Feb/March
mid spring. April
late spring, May
summer - Lacours - let them die back in the summer. Don't clip back till they die on their own. calladium - remove bloom spikes . If it blooms then it wont produce any more leaves. Plant later the better. Nite temp 70 or better. Soil needs to be > 60 degrees. End of may is good. Earlier they may rot. Gladiolas - easy to grow Irises - early spring bloom - dig them up every 5 years and redistribute Rain lilly - great for fall. aneminoes - plant when you tried everything else. Don't come back. Plant early they might not grow they are a hallange. Scallions will bloom in the shade.
Fall & winter - Amarillis - for Christmas and also will bloom in the summer.
consider need for sun or shade
On forcing bulbs - color any time of the year:
You have to do refrigeration except for paperwhite. When starting bulbs, bottom should just touch water or gravel is even better. Tulips refrigerate 6 - 8 weeks then sunny warm place in green house. Hyacinths require 10 - 12 weeks of refrigeration. Everything that can be forced can be planted in the yard except for tulips - throw them away.
B) Buy best quality bulbs for best results
C) Best storage condition are those where the bulbs are kept cool, dry and well ventilated. This is necesssary for the bulbs whicl will not winter through such as caladiums. Pre-cool tulips and Dutch hyacinths for ten weeks, do not freeze, do not store with citrus. Dust bulbs with sulfur - to protect from insects during winter
D) Prepare beds properly
bulb fertilizer - bone meal is slow release and use over where you know the bulbs to be. Do not use excess nitrogen
proper depth and spacing planting depth - size of bulb determines depth. The depth of the hole should be twice the size of bulb. The spacing should be two to three times the largest diameter. Remember that bulbs which are to remain need greater spacing
weekly soaking during periods of root development
rapid growth in spring
after flowering to increase size and number
In the fall watering to shrubs should be reduced to allow dormancy.
F) Types of bulbs
True Bulbs - consists of a tiny, frilly formed plant within a package of fleshy scales.
Corms - a stem that is modified into a mass of storage tissue,
Tubers - a solid mass of stem similar to the corm, but it lacks both a basal plate and the corm s tunic-like covering.
Tuberous Roots - swollen roots which can be divided by cutting off a section with an eye-bearing portion.
Rhizones - thickened branching storage stems.
Bulbs and their favorite locations:
Sunny and Relatively Dry
Allium, Canna,, Lycoris, Narcissus, Tulipa, Zephyrantles Rain Lilly, Amaryllises, Muscari (Grape hyacinth), Montbretia (Crocosmia), Dioscorea bulbifera (potato vine)
Shady to Partially Shaded
Alstromeria, Bletilla striata (Hardy orchid), Crinum, Hyacinths, Hymenocallis (spider lily), Irises, Liliurn (hybrid lily), Lycoris (spider lily), Narcissus, Oxalis, Polygonatum (Solomon s Seal), Scilla hyacinthoides, . Scilla campantilata, Tulipa Zantedeschia (calla lily), Zingiberaceae (gingers), Agapanthus (Lily of the Nile), Achimenes
Tolerant of Boggy Soil
Canna Irises(Louisiana, pseudacorus) Polygonatum(Solomon s Seal
Types of bulbs that are available:
Achinienes: The hardy relatives of gloxinias and African violets. Used for pots and porch boxes it needs to be in shady beds if planted in the garden. Oblong tubers are formed not only in the soil, but also at nodes along the stems. The flower is a long-tubed flower, varying from an inch to three inches in diameter. Some nicknames are "magic flowers," "widow s tears", "cupid s bow," "monkey-faced pansies," "Japanese nut orchids," and "kimono plants." A great pass-along plant.
Agapanthus --_Lily_of the Nile A cherished blossom from South Africa. Blue or white blooms in the summer. The blooms look like a cross between a lily and an allium bloom.
Allitim -- Takes several years to go from seed to flower. Many allium grow rampantly seeding from the tiny black seeds as it is scattered directly into the garden. Thus alliuni naturalizes itself in mass displays. The onions, leeks, chives and garlic are part of the alliurn tatnily.
Alstroemeria (Peruvian_lily)-- Does not do well hut its cousin parrot lily, alstroemeria psittacina. prospers mightily. The flower is a Christmasy red with green tips. Its attracts huniminghirds who are the principal pollinator of these flowers. Grows vigorously in moist soil with partial shade, with a thickened rootstock. A great pass-along plant.
Garden Amaryllises -- The most popular is Hipperastrum x johnsonii. It is a deep crimson with white keels(strips) and bronze-tinted foliage; not usually found in nursery stock, so a great pass-along plant. One of the most cold-hardy Amaryllis it likes a little partial shade hut will accept direct sun. The pods produced by the Amaryllis bulb have black seeds that Will grow into new bulbs if planted. The Dutch hybrids bred mainly for pot culture can make good garden flowers in the South.
Bletilla striata (Hardy orchid or Chinese ground orchid) A tuberous orchid that needs a bit of shade in the hottest part of the summer. The bloom comes too early in spring to he safe from late frosts. Be prepared to cover in the evening hefore early morning frost. Common color is rosy purple, but there is also a good white.
Canna -- A native of the tropics and subtropics and has a thick, branching rhizonies. Cannas have been in cultivation as early as 1570. I-Iybrids first developed around 1848. Cannas need sun to flower. Removing spent flowers and seed pods induces repeat flowering. Cannas come in all sizes(heights) and colors. Dwarfs at two and one half feet to the large growing six foot. Colors are yellow, pink, orange, salmon and red also some strips and bi-colors. Major pest is the leaf roller caterpillar. Control by using a systemic insecticide or cutting off infected leaves.
Crinum -- Crinum can he seen naturalizing in ditches around old home sites. They are propagated by seed or by removing natural offsets from older plants. They thrive under a wide variety of conditions. Flowering more when allowed to remain undisturbed.
Dioscorea bulbifera (Potato vine) -- An old fashioned tuherous climber used for their lush green foliage. The fast growing vine provided shade for hot porches in the South. Look for brown potato looking aerial tubers. Pick the tubers when foliage starts dying away in the fall and before freeze. Store to use the next season. Store in brown paper sack and wait till it sprouts before setting out the next spring. Grows in sun or shade. A great pass-along plant.
Hymenocallis (Spider Lilly) Propagated by division of mature clumps in fall or early spring. They can withstand considerable drought but prefer a wet site. Will grow in sand or clay. Plant deep. Blooms in June or July.
Iris -- Bearded Iris prefer relatively dry, well drained locations in the sun. Usual time for planting is fall hut they can be successfully transplanted anytime. Barely cover the rhizomes with soil. Leaves do not need to be cut hack except when dividing and replanting.
Louisiana Iris -- This iris likes a moist soil, growing from 1 to 6 . Louisiana iris likes a more acid soil where the bearded iris likes alkaline. Fall is also a good time for transplanting. After blooms in the spring stalks should be cut back to the rhizome Dutch Iris -- These iris are bulbous. They prefer rich well-drained soils. Likes sunny locations and blooms in spring for only a short time.
Lycoris (Spider Lily) Found in most old Southern gardens. Foliage appears in fall after blooms and then dies in the spring. In September the bloom spikes appear. Most popular color of course, is red but you can find yellow and white though usually expensive. Lycoris squamigera is a pink variety blooming in July or August.
Montbretia (Crocosmia) Grown from a gladiolus-like corms that send out stolons to form new plants. A bright red-orange color the flowers are excellent cut flowers. It can be invasive. Needs no fertilizing and little water. Transplant in fall or spring.
Muscari (Grape Hyacinth) -- The little blue muscart spreads quickly by bulblets, The dark green leaves come up in the fall and blooms the sweet-scented flower in early March. Standard commercial varieties do not naturalize well in the South so if your wanting to naturalize you need to get a pass-along clump form someone who has the old southern variety.
Oxalis (Wood sorrel) -- Nearly all have divided foliage, either like clover or dissected to resemble tiny windmills. Oxalis is used for borders in the shade. Many oxalis develop simple bulbs while others have tuberous roots. Blooming in the early spring continuing into summer and sometimes returning to I)loom again in the cool of the fall. Bloom color varies from white to shades of pink and some yellows. The shamrock plant is one form of oxalis. Oxalis regnellii is an oxalis that takes to the climate of the South. It has triangular green leaflets with white flower. Another introduction has the purple leaves with pale pink blossoms. A great pass-along plant.
Polygonatum (Solomon's Seal) -- Elegant, leafy arcs of foliage and tiny drooping hell like flowers, blooming in spring have much to oftèr dry shady gardens. The great Solomon s seal is most common in native woodlands. It achieving three feet on rich, moist soil. The variegate variety does well in the South also. The rhizomes require several years to settle in before offering many blooms.
Scilla - Scilla hyacinthoides will persists indefinitely in Southern gardens hut rarely blooms without coaxing. it s best to lift bulbs annually.
Scillacampanidata or Spanish bluehells is a better choice for the garden. Wisteria blue spikes blossom in April. One of the finest bulbs for naturalizing woodlands.
Zephyranthes (Rain-Lily) -- Used as border plantings. A sunny location is preferred. Feeding encourage better growth. Rain lilies can be planted anytime but fall is best. Yellow, white and pink are just some of the colors.
Zingjberaceae(Ginger)-- Most ginger prefer a moist location. They also prefer filtered sunlight. Divide most about every four years. Ginger s need some fertilizer in the growing season. Hidden Ginger and Butterfly Ginger are two of the many varieties found.
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