planting bulbs to stagger bloom time

iris2sun(7 NC)October 30, 2008


I'm new to the forum and have learned alot from reading comments from previous posters.

I started selling flowers in our local farmers market this summer and now that the season is over, I'm beginning to plan for next year's market.

I have a question re planting bulbs here in NC. I just received an order of 200 dutch iris. Is it possible to plant the bulbs in a way that they don't all bloom at the same time? It would be nice to be able to carry the blooms to market over a period of about a month rather than having them bloom at the same time. The same question applies to the asiatic lily bulbs that I just received.

Any suggestions would be appreciated.


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diggerdee zone 6 CT


I have very limited experience with this, since I just tried it this year with some oriental lily bulbs, and I grew in crates.

However, I did stagger my plantings, doing one and then doing another about two or three weeks later - not sure about the exact timing, since I didn't keep any records.

However the staggering did work. I did get blooms well into late September this way, while the first lilies bloomed in August.

Another thing I did, since I grew in crates, was that I put the crates I planted at the same time in different areas receiving different amounts of sun, hoping to delay the shady crates a bit. That seemed to help too.

Hopefully someone more experienced will chime in. Good luck!


    Bookmark   October 30, 2008 at 6:35PM
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annebert(6b/7a MD)

It sounds like you're planting in the ground rather than in crates. If so, try to choose different microclimates. The irises will bloom in partial or part day shade, so putting some in a very sunny area and some in part shade should give you at least two different bloom times. This will work reasonably well with Asiatics, too.

I haven't tried this next idea, but it's a possibility, especially for the irises. If you mulched some very heavily, you might be able to delay emergence and flowering. Also,if you covered some with black plastic, you might be able to warm them up and get them going quickly in the spring.

    Bookmark   October 31, 2008 at 8:09PM
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iris2sun(7 NC)


Annebert, thank you for your suggestion re creating different microclimates. I put all the bulbs in the ground today (rewarded with back/neck aches) and tried creating different microclimates using several techniques; varying amount of shade, depth of bulb planting, & amount of mulch. I'm going to try the black plastic over some of the areas next spring. I like to experiment and so I'm looking forward to seeing the results next spring.

Dee, thank you for your rapid response. I'm not familiar with planting bulbs in crates, but it sounds like my neck & back would find planting in crates a kinder and gentler bulb planting technique.

    Bookmark   November 1, 2008 at 7:04PM
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