Seedlings to Flowering Bulbs ASAP ?

Matthew Condon - Indiana.Matt - IN, Zone 5/6(Indiana Zone 5/6)January 30, 2014

I have some seedlings that I got from the plant exchange and I have had them for 3 years now. They haven't grown much, but they do look good. I also have some offset bulbs that to took off my larger bulbs at lease 6 years ago and they all seem to take there time getting big.

Help......

I keep them watered and fed with all purpose Miracle Gro, but I have been forcing them into the dormant period...thinking I should stop that and just let them keep growing.

Any suggestions on getting them to flowering size ASAP?

Thanks,
Matthew Condon
Indiana.Matt

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kaboehm (zone 9a, TX USA)

I don't force my seedlings into dormancy.

You've had the bulbs in the photo for 6 years....they seem pretty small. 3 years to bloom is pretty typical with good care. What crosses are these?Some may be slower to mature, but you're right, 6 years is a bit extreme. You are fertilizing....are they getting good light? Maybe they'll surprise you this year.
K

    Bookmark   January 31, 2014 at 7:32AM
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Matthew Condon - Indiana.Matt - IN, Zone 5/6(Indiana Zone 5/6)

K,

The three on the left are the 3 year old seedlings and the three on the right are the offset bulbs about 6 yeas old. I only started really keeping up with feeding and watering two years ago. So my offset bulbs didn't get off to a good start and the dormancy period, I'm sure, slowed them down.

Everyone:
What are you thought on repotting these into separate pots?

Thanks,
Matthew Condon
Indiana.Matt

    Bookmark   January 31, 2014 at 7:58AM
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dondeldux

Matt,

I too think your main problem is their dormancy. In my experience most all bulbs will naturally grow evergreen and especially seedlings. If you only have the two pots then I would put them in your sunniest window for the winter months and feed them religiously. I have seedlings that have been growing for 4 years without a dormancy and they are finally getting to a size where they might decide to bloom! If your two pots are currently dormant I'd wait until they have a fairly good crop of leaves as fertilizer can burn the roots if there are no leaves to take up the nutrients.

I too plant several bulbs of a specific cross in one pot and there will most always be one that will outshine the others in terms of size and number of leaves; same conditions of course being in the same pot.

I made a cross of papilio x Exotic Star and in about 2+1/2 years the first bulb bloomed! The other 15 or so siblings have no intention of blooming anytime soon although I have one other that might be thinking about it this spring; all in the same window! It will be well over 4 years for most of my seedlings to bloom even without a dormancy.

Now some people might put them under light but I can only do that for the first year or so as I just don't have the room. I'm sure under lights for long days might hurry up the process.

Bottom line...no dormancy for seedlings. ( just my opinion of course as we all have our own way of doing some things.)

Donna

Bone meal:

I vividly remember the day we planted our daffodils with bone meal and I didn't stand up wind and the powder wafted in my face and I thought I'd choke to death from the stench. I could taste and smell bone meal for the rest of the day! ;-)

    Bookmark   January 31, 2014 at 9:17AM
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oleg9grower

Matt,
Certainly worth your bulbs repotting in individual pots, but gently with maximum preservation of roots. Give them a large pots. If you give a fresh fertile soil, it is best not to fertilize the first few months, but the light they need as much as possible. I agree with Donna and Kristy about what the seedlings need to grow without a rest period and with other recommendation.
Substrate should be slightly wet as during transplantation still damaged roots. So that the roots have not started to rot the soil should not be too wet. Prior to the growth of leaves keep your plants warm.

    Bookmark   January 31, 2014 at 12:00PM
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Matthew Condon - Indiana.Matt - IN, Zone 5/6(Indiana Zone 5/6)

Donna:
Thanks. The photo I posted is resent, that is what they look like now. I took them out of dormancy Jan 1st of this year.

oleg9grower:
Thanks, good info.

Ok, sounds like I got a plan:
1. Keep up with regular watering and feeding.
2. Provide as much light as posable.
3. Possibly repot my smaller bulbs - each in its own larger pot.
(as soon as the potting mix is on the shelves in my area)
4. Don't put my smaller bulbs through dormancy.
5. Put them outside as soon as it warms up.

    Bookmark   January 31, 2014 at 4:31PM
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oleg9grower

Matt,
You do not quite understand correctly.
"1. Keep up with regular watering and feeding".
This is when, after the transplant will actively growing roots and leaves.
"3. Possibly repot my smaller bulbs - each in its own larger pot.
(as soon as the potting mix is on the shelves in my area)"
"Large pots" within the meaning of the appropriate size.
In other words, the larger bulb - larger pot. This is that on your photo your pots look small.
"4. Don't put my smaller bulbs through dormancy."
And the largest on your photos too.
"5. Put them outside as soon as it warms up".
No, not the point. Of course, once the appropriate temperature conditions should do it. But we must remember about the threat of defeat NBF
I talked about the purpose of heat in order to create conditions for good rooting bulb and prevent their rotting.

    Bookmark   January 31, 2014 at 5:54PM
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Matthew Condon - Indiana.Matt - IN, Zone 5/6(Indiana Zone 5/6)

oleg9grower:

Sorry that I wasn't extremely detailed in my plan. Don't worry, I do understand. I have also been growing these things for about 16 years now - I have 12 bulbs total. When I talk about my smaller bulbs, I am talking about all the bulbs in the photo. Thy are all much smaller than my 6 larger bulbs. I almost always put my amaryllis bulbs outside when the weather gets nice in the spring. I keep them all outside all summer. I was just stating something that I do every year.

Not that I can't, but I've never had any trouble with insects or deceases with my bulbs.

Thanks again for your advice. It's all very helpful.

Matthew Condon
Indiana.Matt

    Bookmark   January 31, 2014 at 7:50PM
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kaboehm (zone 9a, TX USA)

16 years....12 bulbs....really??? Do you have self control or what? Obviously not exposed to CHAD yet. Maybe this is the year!!
Hehehe
K

    Bookmark   January 31, 2014 at 8:55PM
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oleg9grower

WOW! Surely in Indiana do not grow daffodils (Narcissus)?
NBF is Narcissus Bulb Fly.

    Bookmark   January 31, 2014 at 8:58PM
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Matthew Condon - Indiana.Matt - IN, Zone 5/6(Indiana Zone 5/6)

Hmmm...CHAD I don't know what that is. I'll have to look it up.
Looked it up...lol...ya, I get that occasionally, but I don't like to spend money...I've always been that way...so, in a way, that is how I maintain self control. I also still live with my parents (I'm 29) and my mom doesn't appreciate all my plants gathered around our only southern window...in the kitchen. That too keeps me under control...but one day, when I have my own place...look out! CHAD may just try to make up for lost time.

We have lots of daffodils in Indiana, but I have never heard of NBF. I looked them up and I do believe I have seen some flies that at least look as if they could be NBF. Never have had them on my Amaryllis bulbs.

I only bought 3 of my 12 bulbs...I have 3 offsets and the rest where given to me. I have been looking at others online recently. I might start collecting more. Papilio (Butterfly) is my favorite. It's the first amaryllis I saw...saw it in Martha Stewart Living. Martha had an article in the magazine about growing amaryllis...I was hooked...I had to have one. A friend of mine also loves the 'Butterfly' amaryllis and I think she placed an order for each of us yesterday. Looking forward to my new 'Butterfly'...it may not come until fall...not sure.

I still have my first bulb, it's 'Apple Blossom' but it hasn't bloomed for a long time and is too small to bloom right now anyway. I have at least one offset from it and two new ones (not included in the 12). I have one 'White Christmas' and the rest are 'Red Lion' I don't need any more 'Red Lion'. If I get too many 'Red Lion' bulbs, I might just overwinter them all and plant them out in the garden to bloom in the spring.

I don't know how old 'Apple Blossom' was when I bought it, but it is for sure older than 16 years now. I would love to see it bloom again. I read that you can cut off part of the basal plate to rejuvanate the bulb? I don't even know if the basal plate is that thick...I haven't looked at it for a few years.

Has any one trimmed the basal plate on old bulbs to rejuvenate them?

Matthew Condon
Indiana.Matt

    Bookmark   January 31, 2014 at 10:42PM
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oleg9grower

Oh, hopeless ...)))

    Bookmark   January 31, 2014 at 11:01PM
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dondeldux

Matt,

There is quite a bit of information on this forum on the trimming of basal plates. Most of us have done it successfully many times. Just type trimming basal plates in the search box at the top of the page and you should get several threads that should give you the information that you need; with pictures!!

If there is something you don't understand than just ask..

Donna

    Bookmark   February 1, 2014 at 8:15AM
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kaboehm (zone 9a, TX USA)

Matt,

Donna's so right!!! There are so many helpful people on this list. We've all had questions and always get answers and encouragement on this site. When the CHAD kicks in, just let us know.

Trimming the basal plate can be a bit scary, but when the plate on an old bulb becomes too thick, it loses its vigor and trimming can help. You might do well to get a small bottle of rooting hormone powder and another small container of Captan powder. Those are very helpful with this hobby!

Kristi

    Bookmark   February 1, 2014 at 8:54AM
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ryseryse_2004

I think the real secret to swift growth is actually planting them in the ground in your perennial bed so that they can enjoy all of the other flowers planted around them.

Yes, not scientific but there really is a difference between that and growing in a pot no matter how large.

    Bookmark   February 1, 2014 at 10:07AM
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ryseryse_2004

Matt, I know my above post sounds goofy, but for comparison, just plant one of them in your bed this spring and see the difference it makes.

    Bookmark   February 1, 2014 at 10:08AM
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dondeldux

Ryse-Ryse,

You're absolutely right about the vigor of bulbs that you can plant directly in the ground. I've done it with some of mine and also planting in whiskey barrels. In fact last year I planted some of my smaller first year seedlings in a barrel and they bulked up nicely. Also in past years I have planted many of my bulbs in whiskey barrels, (my choice as it's easier for me than planting directly in the ground). They fatten up really fast with regular fertilizing and only need a half days sun.

Donna

    Bookmark   February 1, 2014 at 10:25AM
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macroclemys

If you want to try something experimental and unproven, but which might increase seedling growth, you could try watering your seedlings with a dilute solution of "smoke water". Smoke water is produced by bubbling smoke through water, and is sold as a condiment to give food a smoky flavor. It has long been known to promote germination in many species that have seeds with an innate dormancy that is difficult to break. It also accelerates seedling growth in some species, and there is an interesting study showing large increases in the growth of onion bulbs (link attached). I don't know whether it increases the growth of hippeastrum seedlings, but just in case, last summer I often included it in the water for both my seedlings and adults. To be honest, if it had an effect, it was not large enough to astound me. By the end of the summer, my seedlings appeared no larger than other years, but a controlled experiment is needed to be certain. A while back I posted a query about this to the Pacific Bulb Society list, and it appears that no one in that group has been trying it on bulbs of other species. So it may be a complete waste of time and effort. Or maybe not...

Bill

Here is a link that might be useful: Smoke water

    Bookmark   February 2, 2014 at 7:11AM
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