What are my bulbils doing?

hopgood(5bCAN)February 15, 2009

In the late summer early fall I harvested tiger lily bulbils from my Great Grandmothers garden. Sadly the house was sold and my husband and I harvested as many seeds from her garden that we could. I placed the bulbils in potting soil in a seed tray and covered it with plastic. I placed the tray in a sunny windowsill and have kept it well watered. However, the bulbils rooted sometime in November but have not produced leaves. I'm not sure what they are doing so I uncovered a few and they seem to be still alive. Does anyone have any suggustions about what they are doing or what I could do to encourage them to produce leaves? I really don't want to loose them because I no longer have access to the garden. These bulbils mean a lot to me as it was a heritage garden and has a lot of centimental value. HELP!

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A bit after the fact, but what you should have done was plant them directly into your garden immediately after harvesting them. And marking the spot since the first year growth can almost be mistaken for a blade of grass.

That being said - remove the plastic and be cautious with watering. Too much water will rot bulbs. The bulb itself stores what it needs. If the ones you uncovered were still purple-y and firm, get them outside as soon as it's safe to do so in your zone. Bury them shallowly - seed tray and all - in a sunny spot where it can easily be found and the tray lifted. Chances are, at the right time, they'll put out their first single leaf stalk. Let them go through, say September/October, then transplant them into your garden where you want them. The second year they'll still be spindly, but getting taller, and will definitely start looking like a Tiger Lily.

If you feel adventuresome at first sring opportunity, take them out of the seed tray and

    Bookmark   February 15, 2009 at 3:20PM
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and... (hit send rather than preview) plant them individually where you want them. It might take a third or fourth season before you get blooming plants.

I don't have any particular expertise but have always had Tiger Lilies. Although I've never tried starting them indoors over a winter - thinking that might interrupt the needed dormant period - I've let them sprout where they fell from the parent plant, planted them in patches around the gardens, or simply flung them to see if they'll sprout wherever they touch soil. They do.

    Bookmark   February 15, 2009 at 3:28PM
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Thanks so much! They are still firm and purple so I haven't killed them yet. Spring is still a ways off here in zone 5 but at first chance I will put them in my cold frame so I don't shock them and then off to the garden they will go. Next time I will put them straight in the garden. I should have gone with my instincts on that one...darn garden book.

    Bookmark   February 16, 2009 at 2:11PM
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They might need a chill period before they put out leaves. I'm trying a few that should be started in warm for 4 weeks, then cold for 4 weeks (the fridge) and then warm again.

    Bookmark   February 16, 2009 at 3:11PM
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Gladzoe, they are tiger lilies does that make a difference? I took the plastic off last night and when I looked this morning it looks like one of the bulbils is trying to send out a leaf. However, the rest are just sitting there rooted with no sign of leaves.

    Bookmark   February 17, 2009 at 9:00AM
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leftwood(z4a MN)

It is common for bulbils to not need a cold treatment to initiate leaves, but sometimes it is required. Put them in the frig (or some similar treatment) for minimum 3 weeks, and up to 3+ months. If they are healthy, they are garaunteed to sprout.

    Bookmark   February 18, 2009 at 5:43PM
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Thank you all for your help. After six days with the plastic off two of the bulbils have put out leaves and I'm sure the rest will follow suit! At least now there is a light at the end of the snow tunnel! I now have perrenials to play with inside while the snow is still down. LOL. Thanks again!

    Bookmark   February 22, 2009 at 3:12PM
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Nancy zone 6

I started some exactly as you did, they were fine, as you have found out now :) The ones I started inside seemed to a bit bigger than the ones started outside, but neither bloomed til the 3rd year, & not heavily then.

    Bookmark   March 1, 2009 at 8:07PM
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