Mystery Bulb Experiment

sun_worshiper(FL 9b)July 27, 2013

I received these bulbs from someone in Miami. They have never bloomed for that person in the 7 years they have owned the property, and it is possible that they are an old heirloom of some sort, as the house is from the 30s and previously an elderly couple had lived there for many years.

I'm going to see if I can get them to bloom to find out what they are. Here they all are, after trimming them up:

For old bulbs from an undisturbed clump, they are quite small, and interestingly enough, only one had an offset. The foliage is very narrow, and they have been buried pretty deep and have long necks.

Here's a close up of the largest one, with one offset forming:

I did a variety of trimming from very little to a lot and will plant them in a variety of areas in my yard that other hippeastrums like and see what happens.

Group 1:
Planted in the best hippeastrum spot in my yard in filtered light with good drainage. I put the biggest bulb here for the best chance at a bloom.

Group 2:
This group is an experiment in planting depth. The one on the far right is the depth from which it was dug, and I incrementally planted shallower until the one on the left only has its basal plate in the ground.

Group 3:
This group is an experiment in neck trimming. I planted all at what I consider the "correct" depth for my zone, with the top of the bulb just under the soil. And I trimmed the necks from very long to flush with the ground.

Group 4:
This group was planted in a very sandy and dry location at the base of a maple tree:

Group 5:
The last group is planted in a sunny location with excellent soil that is quite dry because the large purple crinum behind it absorbs most of the water. I have had success getting one other reluctant bloomer to bloom in this location.

Thanks for looking. Any guesses what will happen? Which will grow best and which are most likely to bloom?

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"Which will grow best and which are most likely to bloom?"

what a fun experiment, please don't let this fall by the wayside, keep us informed. my guess is that they were all planted to deep and were packed to close together to bloom and now that that has been remedied most of them will bloom next spring. at least that is m guess.

    Bookmark   July 27, 2013 at 6:07PM
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Well, Angela you took a lot of time and effort to plan your little experiment.. so, I hope they all bloom for you for your efforts! Can't wait to see what they turn out to be; something that you don't already have would be wonderful. Don't you just love a mystery?!?!


    Bookmark   July 27, 2013 at 6:08PM
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This sounds like such fun! Please don't forget to tell us how it all turns out.

    Bookmark   July 27, 2013 at 8:04PM
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kaboehm (zone 9a, TX USA)

How great that you have so many bulbs from a single source. Your methodical depth and trimming were really well thought out. Photos to document should really help you! Good luck and post updates!

    Bookmark   July 27, 2013 at 9:59PM
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sun_worshiper(FL 9b)

Thanks so much all! Mysteries like this are fun! The person who gave them to me has tried all sorts of things for multiple years with other bulbs from this clump, without any blooms. So it is also possible that temperature may be a factor too. Anyone in south FL able to report on how well hippeastrums do there? Do they bloom regularly, or better after a cooler winter?

Hopefully I'll have some interesting pics to post in spring!

    Bookmark   July 27, 2013 at 10:08PM
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waiting for further

    Bookmark   July 28, 2013 at 5:33AM
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Ok so I had "clipped" this thread so I could look at it later on if for some chance I missed an update, its been about 6 months, how about an update did things grow better in some areas did anything bloom for you. patience has never been one of my strong points but I am working on it.

    Bookmark   January 26, 2014 at 11:59AM
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sun_worshiper(FL 9b)

Hey, thanks for asking! I did not notice much difference in growth due to trimming or planting depth, all grew some leaves. And due to the time of planting in the heat of summer, all but those in the most shade fully defoliated before growing new foliage. So next couple months will be the exciting time. Hippeastrum usually blooms here about March/April, and all of mine are essentially dormant right now. I usually start seeing scapes around mid February, so fingers crossed in a couple more weeks maybe I'll be lucky enough to get a bloom! So stay tuned...patience is hard isn't it?

    Bookmark   January 26, 2014 at 2:19PM
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sun_worshiper(FL 9b)

Well, it is May now, and my hippeastrum season is just finishing. Johnsonii, which is my latest bloomer is nearly done. These mystery bulbs have not thrown up a single scape. I am about 90% sure they are not hippeastrums.

So what are they? Remains to be seen, but I am currently leaning toward some form of hymenocallis. In addition to not blooming during hippeastrum season, the foliage emergence pattern is a bit different. Spring emergence of new leaves is slower than my hippeastrums, and the leaves have a bit of a curl to them that hippeastrums don't when they are new. Also, they have a faint lighter colored stripe down the center of the foliage that is very similar to type of hymenocallis I also grow. So we'll see if they do any blooming later in summer.

Thanks for watching the experiment!

    Bookmark   May 6, 2014 at 7:01PM
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Thanks for the update

    Bookmark   May 9, 2014 at 4:50PM
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kaboehm (zone 9a, TX USA)
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