Problem with Giraffe bulbs

dondelduxDecember 28, 2013

Hi Everyone,

In 2009 I bought what was labeled as 2 papilios at a local nursery; they turned out to be Giraffes which I was just fine with. I got flowers the first year and then the 3rd year. In the meantime the Narcissus Bulb Fly ate one of my bulbs so I was left with just one. When I went to repot it and remove the dead bulb this is what I found:

I repotted it in a larger pot to give plenty of room for all those bulblets! For the next few years the pot grew plenty of leaves but never bloomed. The other day I took a closer look at the pot and was able to lift a bulb right out with no resistance. I proceeded to pull 13 bulbs out all with rotted basal plates and no roots left. The bulbs themselves were hard and showed no signs of rot. I scrapped off all the rot with my fingernail and I feel confident that I have it all. It really only went into a few of the bulbs about 1/8 of an inch which was easily scooped out.
Now about half of these bulbs still had green leaves. I can only surmise that the pot got and stayed too wet and as the fact that all the bulblets grew from the deceased mother bulb totally covered under the soil that they were just to wet. This pot was in my hot bay window where it gets lots of sun and is only watered when I water the other bulbs in this window. It was a clay pot.

So, I am drying them out and then I think I will just paper bag them and put them in a cool closet and plant them outside next spring and hopefully a few of them will grow a new basal plate with roots. Is this possible for a bulb to regrow a basal plate that has rotted off completely??

I may take a couple of the larger bulbs after they have completely dried out and sit them on top of some soil to see what happens.

Does anyone have another ideas what I should do with these 13 golf ball or larger sized bulbs?

Thanks for reading this and I hope I can once again see the lovely flowers I had 5 years ago. I think I remember Royal Colors sold Giraffe so hopefully if these all die they will offer them again and I will buy 2 new bulbs!


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It looks to me that you have enough basal plate left. I would place my money on their survival, as long as the rot is contained. Since you have so many, you could slice one of the worse ones from top to bottom to see if there is any tissue connecting the bud scales together at the base.

    Bookmark   December 28, 2013 at 11:40AM
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I'm a firm believer in these bulbs want to live, force them into dormancy and then watch them return.

    Bookmark   December 29, 2013 at 2:24AM
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For me you can't exclude mites , I would give a hot water treatment and after drying the bulbs in a heated room for 10 days , I would repot them and keep them warm.
The bulbs are beautifull , sure they want to live and grow.

    Bookmark   December 29, 2013 at 2:46AM
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sun_worshiper(FL 9b)

Sorry to hear about the rot! I think some of those will survive, especially the ones with a root or two left. I agree - probably too wet. What do you use as a medium? The only year I had good luck with a papillo was when I kept it in a pot of turface with just the basal plate touching the soil and watered almost never. If you have access to turface (I get it at a John Deere store), you might try that with the ones that still have viable roots. When I unpotted my papillo, I was astounded at the root system it grew. Of course I then planted it into the ground, and although my soil is all sand, it was still too wet and rotted...c'est la vie.

Good luck salvaging!

    Bookmark   December 30, 2013 at 9:34AM
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Well, for now I'm still drying them out and waiting for the leaves to turn brown. Basically, I'm just ignoring them.

I looked at the date again of the picture of the loose bulb that I posted above and it was take Nov 2010 and I suppose it's possible I wasn't using my grainy course soil mix that I now use; those bulbs have been in the same pot since then.
I guess I'm like the old woman who lived in a shoe with too many children she didn't know what to do...some of them got neglected I guess.... ;-)

    Bookmark   December 30, 2013 at 11:28AM
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