Labeling bulb locations

steve22802(7a VA)April 8, 2009

What method of labeling your bulb locations do you use? I have accumulated thousands of bulbs and often I want to divide or relocate them during the summer while they are dormant so I need to mark their locations. I've come up with a pretty good method I've been using lately but I'd be happy to hear of other inexpensive options that people have found. Right now is the time for labeling of course while the spring bulbs are in full bloom. :)

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linnea56(z5 IL)

Thanks for the idea. I need something more permanent to mark mostly lilies: Since they emerge late I donÂt want to cut into them while planting a perennial, while some I always want to move around in the fall. I have tried several things only to find my markers all get heaved up by frost or raked up in the spring. Maybe with something really low profile and pushed well into the ground that wouldnÂt happen. What gauge of wire have you found that works well? I donÂt drink soda so have no cans but IÂm sure I could get some from someoneÂs recycling bin.

    Bookmark   April 8, 2009 at 9:37AM
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steve22802(7a VA)

The aluminum clothesline wire I've been using is about 1/8 inch in diameter which would be about 8 gauge wire. I like that size pretty well. The bicycle spokes are a little on the thin side. I usually push them almost all the way down into the ground (about 6-8 inches) in the middle of the bulb clump so that they are floating right on top of the ground or mulch and haven't had any frost heaving problems, but our winters aren't so cold here in Virginia either. I started out using cut up mini blind slats but they turn brittle too fast and even permanent marker doesn't last very long outside under the sun. Etched aluminum lasts much better.

    Bookmark   April 8, 2009 at 12:54PM
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Unless you need to wait until summer to move your bulbs, or are not sure where you want them to go just yet, you can move them 'in the green' now. As soon as blooming is finished, dig them and replant immediately. I've done it with all bulbs, problem.

    Bookmark   April 8, 2009 at 10:22PM
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steve22802(7a VA)

You know Paula, I've wondered sometimes if it isn't actually better in a case of overcrowding to divide the bulbs immediately after blooming and then replant them right away. My theory is that this would give these spring bulbs more room to increase in size as they approach summer dormancy. Most bulbs books say not to cut the leaves because they are needed to put energy back into the bulb. But if the clump is so overcrowded (like one I noticed out on some family land in the country) that it is hardly blooming then it seems like the bulbs won't have any room to grow unless they are separated before they go dormant. What do you think?

    Bookmark   April 9, 2009 at 8:28AM
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I am digging all bulbs and perennials up to save them from being destroyed by a grader. So far I have dug up crocus and hyacinth, next will be jonquils daffodils. what a job, I just relocate them or put them in a pot. If they survive this I will be happy, then they will get relocated in the fall.

    Bookmark   April 12, 2009 at 7:52AM
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john_4b(z4b WI)

I would move them 'in the green' and replant them right away. Plant them at the same level they were growing at, and the foliage will still be able to ripen and feed the bulb for next years bloom. You are right, Steve, if the clumps are so crowded that bloom is reduced, it certainly would not hurt to dig and separate them now and replant some in a new location.

    Bookmark   April 15, 2009 at 1:57PM
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Sorry steve, I missed the followup. Yes, I just moved a lot of scilla siberica, while in bloom, that were scattered around my front yard. The problem, necessatating the move, was conflict in color. Where I have blue anemone blanda's in bloom nearby, the scilla's were detracting. So I dug 30 or so, put them all in the back yard large bed, amongst semi evergreen purple heuchera's, in evergreen shade. I had some in that bed, now it will be loaded next spring, and it looks great. So I wound up planting the scillas twice. I can't always remember all colors that are out in spring time when I'm looking at fall foliage everywhere during fall planting LOL. Spring is the best time to edit actually.

I've been dividing my daffs in the green, over many years, just after they're done blooming. It works fine, as long as you immediately replant and water in. It's more of a bother to try and find them in the fall, and I have to resort to a distracting tall bamboo pole or something to mark clumps.

From now til they go dormant, bulbs absorb nutrients through the foliage, to build bloom inside the bulb for next year. Starting in September, roots will sprout from the bulb, then cease growing when the ground gets cold. In late winter the foliage starts to grow. I think moving them in the green gives them an earlier start.

    Bookmark   April 15, 2009 at 3:00PM
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