Bulb Nutrition Thoughts

rockstonegarden(5b (NS, Can))October 19, 2010

I am having trouble. I have read over and over that a bulb, ex. Tulipa spp. are planted as "true bulbs" I have planted these by the thousands, as well as other spring and summer "bulbs" We've all seen the cutaway diagram of a true bulb. It is composed of layers of food storage "leaves" a flower bud and a swollen base stem as well as a basil root plate. I have always augmented my bone meal with potassium-containing fertilizers to nourish the "swollen stem base". I understand we put the bone meal in the in the bottom of the hole to feed and expedite rooting, and because it is quite immobile in the soil unlike nitrogen, but similar to potassium. If we Deny bulbs the potassium ie. planting with just bone meal, are we not denying the plant extra available food for complete nutrition? Nitrogen,of course can be added every year as it should percolate into the root zone much quicker. Perhaps we are to assume that most soils do not have a potassium deficiency, but perhaps it would help to personalize these elusive perennials.

Anyone have and pertinent information?

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bboy(USDA 8 Sunset 5 WA)

If wondering about soil nutrients on your site sample your soil and have it analyzed.

    Bookmark   October 23, 2010 at 10:28AM
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gardengal48

Theoretically, newly planted bulbs need no additional fertilization given a decent soil condition at planting - all the nutrients needed for both foliage and flowers are already contained in the bulb. Fertilization instructions provided by the International Bulb Society mirror this contention. In subsequent seasons, some supplemental fertilization may be required but this is often addressed just by mulching with a good quality organic mulch, like compost or composted manures.

If one chooses to supplement with a packaged fert, it is always a good idea to have your soils tested first then apply what may be lacking. Barring that, an application of a balanced or all-purpose fertilizer in spring as the foliage emerges is suggested. Do not fertilize too close to flowering and be sure to leave foliage in place after flowering until fully ripened so that the bulb is able to photosynthesize properly and replenish its nutrient stores.

and fwiw, most soils are not potassium deficient, unless very sandy or heavily cropped.

    Bookmark   November 2, 2010 at 2:41PM
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