Bulbs planted this spring, How long to bloom?

blessedbe(7)May 19, 2011

Hi fellow southern gardeners! I have a question about bulbs. I've never planted any before this spring, but in March I put out the following:

Gloriosa rothchildiana- currently starting to come up

Canna picasso- a couple of the ones I've planted are coming up

Canna pretoria- a couple are coming up

Lucifer crocosmia- none are coming up that I can see

Dahlia Aloha- no evidence of this

Canna Red King Humbert- no sign of these

Lily Double Fata Morgana- already blooming

So, I made the rookie mistake of not marking where I planted the bulbs and am now scrambling to find their locations. These are all planted in a row, down a fenceline with full afternoon sun. I know sometimes bulbs just aren't any good and might not come up at all. I'm struggling to understand why bulbs from the same pack are coming up in some areas and not at all in others. Could it be because the grade is a bit sloped? It does seem like they're coming up better in the flatter areas that hold water. Is it possible some of them might not appear the first year?

Thanks!

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dottie_in_charlotte(z7-8 NC)

I had better luck the second year with crocosmia. Usually the bulbs are small in those packages and need a year and a bloom before they set bulblets.
Check back in two/three years and you'll be astonished how many crocosmia bulbs you wind up with.
The bulbs I plant I never use any bone meal or fertilizer the first year (except for bulbs I know I have to lift and store in the fall). The bulbs are getting well rooted in the first year, growing some leaves to feed the bulb for the next flowering year.
Watch for signs of voles in your planting area. If you have them, you may have fed them in March. Hope not.
Don't give up.

    Bookmark   May 19, 2011 at 9:26PM
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donnabaskets(Zone 8a, Central MS)

Given decent soil (you did work it and add amendments and/or fertilizer?) and regular water, you should be seeing all the cannas within two or three weeks at the outside, of planting. They will grow and make foliage first and then start blooming in mid summer or so. Pretoria has such beautiful foliage you won't care if it blooms or not, but it should. Cannas like manure (if you didn't add some to their holes, spread about an inch around the plants now) and lots of water.

As Dottie said, crocosmias can be slow to establish. I too saw very little life in mine until the second year. I do not know if this is because the bulbs take that long to come up or if only a few survived and those few multiplied. Nevertheless, the foliage will look something like iris foliage, but true green. They don't bloom until late summer. If they come up, keep them watered and be patient with them.

Gloriosas are such a joy! If it's up, that's all you need to know for now, assuming it's in decent soil and gets semi regular water. It will bloom in late summer to early fall. Be sure to mulch it heavily with straw before frost next fall, OR dig it up and store it inside. Mine have overwintered for a number of years in the ground, but I am on the line of zones 7 and 8. If you're further north, you might want to dig it up. Wait until the foliage dies back. Also, if it is not near a trellis or a bush, you will want to provide it with something to climb on.

I have personally had very poor luck with dahlias (except Bishop of Llandaff). They don't seem to like my high heat and humidity. If it comes up, give it fertilizer (like Plant Tone, for instance) every few weeks through the growing season. It will need to be dug and stored over the winter.

So you made a rookie mistake....we all do it. If/when the bulbs do come up, consider it a happy surprise, and mark them then so you will know where they are henceforward.

    Bookmark   May 22, 2011 at 6:06PM
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blessedbe(7)

Thanks y'all. I've been hand weeding along that whole strip of fence so I can spot any growing flowers and take out the weedy competition. I've marked the ones I've found with those little plant ID spikes, with the names written on them. Just this weekend I went through and added cypress mulch around all the plants in my yard to help hold the water when I water them.

When I put the bulbs in the ground I added some potting soil to the bottom of the holes. That's all the amendment I did. I'll have to look into getting some manure to water into the soil. I figured the cannas would do well. I've seen some huge, beautiful ones in my lifetime here in Atlanta. They love our hot and humid weather. The Dahlias haven't shown the first sign fo coming up. Oh well, maybe like you said Donna, they just don't like our weather!

    Bookmark   May 23, 2011 at 10:59AM
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