Acquired 3 different bulbs early....what to do?

auron22(6b OH)February 24, 2014

I got a great deal on some plants, but am wondering just how good of a deal it will turn out to be.....

I purchased a bag of 10 lilium 'stargazer' bulbs. I've seen mixed reviews about this aesthetic appeal of this lily, I've seen forced, and garden kinds....I like them, and love the smell. Seemingly minor bulb damage and 5 of them have a stem starting.

Another purchase was 2 dahlia 'kogane fubuki' tubers (tubers, right?)...but they look more like 15 smaller ones making 2 greater ones. Always loved dahlia's, but am very new to growing them, can't spot any "eyes" that I think they need those to grow. Tubers are not in great shape, some smaller pieces are broken off and some others twisted where they meet.

Last was a canna 'Bengal tiger'. Looks like it will live to me. A little rot set in the stem parts and the tips of bulbs.

I can supply pictures tomorrow for some feedback on whether or not they look viable, but for do I go about storing them? The only cool area's I have is an unheated garage, a fridge, basement that probably stays around 60F and a room upstairs that might be a bit cooler than the basement. This winter has been pretty darn cold, I think the 20F below zero nights are over, but still getting single digit lows... so I'm not sure if the dahlia, and canna can be stored in there....maybe not even the lilies?

Sorry if this seems longer than it should be.....I'm so excited for spring I can barely think

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iris_gal(z9 CA)

Get those lilies into potting mix asap. And watered. Lucky you. Since they've sprouted they will quickly poke thru the soil and need sunlight - does your cold upstairs' room have it?

The dahlias (typical with broken tuberous roots) can be held in their airtight bags, with whatever packing mix they're in, in your basement. If they are early bloomers and begin to sprout before outdoor temps. are ok, they will need indoor potting and sun. Don't worry about not seeing eyes. There are probably several.

If you have sulfer dust the canna with it. If you don't use Comet. That sound a little serious to me.

I'm excited too!! My half price hyacinths from Home Depot are blooming with tulips and daffodils. Love spring!

    Bookmark   February 24, 2014 at 9:29PM
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auron22(6b OH)

Thank Iris_gal :)

Im envious! I probably won't be seeing anything for at least a couple more weeks.

Here is the lily bulbs....The pic is the one with the largest stem. I was hoping they would survive the unheated garage until I can plant outside....gonna head to the store after this


Canna, where my thumb is, the stem is rotted but the bulb itself is still firm. Some tips where it looks like stems were are also rotted.

    Bookmark   February 25, 2014 at 5:08PM
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vetivert8(NI-NZ zone 9a)

Did you prepare your lily site in autumn, with the usual compost and amendments?

Are you expecting any more hard frosts?

If the ground is soft enough to work now, can you rig frost protection over it such as thick mulch and horticultural fleece over some hoops? Whatever suits your site and climate.

If you didn't prep the ground - get some old, clean paint pails - 5 gallon size. Use a spade bit half inch to three fourths diameter (like you'd use for wood working) and drill out at least five holes through the bottom. You want excellent drainage.

You can use them for both the dahlias and the lilies. One dahlia to a pail and no more than three lily bulbs per pail.

Plant the lilies quite deeply. They'll put out anchor roots from the main bulb, then feeder roots above the bulb which is why they need to be set fairly deeply. (4-6") You can add some slow release granules and you might want to put a cane in the middle of the pail because the lilies can grow 3'+ when they are happy and settled.

Unless you are prepared to winter mulch and protect your dahlias, you are probably going to have to lift the tubers each year once they've been cut back by the first frosts. Which means - plant them where you won't have to battle your way past tree roots or other competition. Make it easy from the start.

For the canna - another pail. They prefer a rich mix that's also free-draining, and plant about five inches down. It's another one you might have to lift in autumn, depending on your local climate.

When your weather settles, and you can work your soil again, plant out your treasures with the least disturbance you can manage and firm them in without squashing the air out of the soil.

The dahlia and the canna will both appreciate being watered deeply in summer. And being fed/mulched, too.

So long as the garage doesn't stay frozen for days, and you get no worse than -5C, with the freeze lasting less than a day, all of those plants 'should' be fine.

Hope they're all glorious for you.

    Bookmark   February 27, 2014 at 2:53AM
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Edie(5 NY (Finger Lakes))


The cannas for public plantings here get started in a greenhouse, six weeks before the last frost date in the smallest pot that will fit the tuber. They get potted up or planted in the ground later. You can start yours early if you have a warm bright spot indoors and you're eager to see green.

I have "Bengal Tiger" and don't store mine at all, though I have other varieties I store dormant over winter. I started with a tiny tissue culture start in a 2" pot. The first autumn I worried the tuber wasn't big enough to survive a long dormancy, so I kept it as a leafy houseplant on a windowsill all winter. This worked beautifully. I'm doing it again this year. Bengal Tiger is gorgeous, you'll love it.

    Bookmark   March 7, 2014 at 3:06AM
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auron22(6b OH)


I have everything potted in large containers :), well......everything I had at time of posting. I got more Dahlia 'color spectacle', 'penolope', and 'sky angel'. I'll pot them up as well.


I'm looking forward to Bengal tiger :) What other varieties do you grow? I was looking for some other canna's with dramatic foliage. I saw a 'cleopatra' last year, but did not realize the foliage had some chocolate in them. It was just showing the flower on the package.

    Bookmark   March 7, 2014 at 9:28AM
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