Desirai(7B)September 30, 2011

I was digging around in my yard to transplant some things

I accidentally speared 2 of my bulbs.

One of them I only chopped of a chunk of the side; all the roots and stem are on one side

The other one is perfectly down the middle. Each side has some roots and stem.

Is there any way I can save them?

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flora_uk(SW UK 8/9)

No way to tell. Just replant them and hope. Maybe dust with some sulphur if you have it but if not not. It's only 2 bulbs after all. In fact you may even have increased them to 3.

    Bookmark   September 30, 2011 at 1:40PM
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Warning, this post is going to contain too much information, but make of it what you will:

The most important part of the bulb is the growth node at the very center of the bulb.

You may have noticed that all plants grow new leaves from the very tip of each stem - the mature portion of the stem/leaves hardens off and stops growing, while the new growth comes from the tip.

In a bulb, the basal plate - the hard little woody/spoongy pad where the roots connect to the bulb - IS the plant's stem. In true bulbs, the basal plate is modified to look very different from most plant stems and it is actually bigger around than it is long, as if you took a pencil standing vertically, and smashed it down from the tip until it looked like a quarter. Now that quarter sits at the base of each bulb and the very center of that quarter, within the bulb, is the "tip" where growth occurs.

If you were to look inside the bulb, you'd probably find the basal plate looks a bit more like a pyramid, with a bit of a peak inside the bulb despite being flat on the bottom.

The bulb itself is composed of layers which are modified leaves (like the layers of an onion; each layer is a leaf that wraps all the way around). So at the lower portion of the very core of the bulb is the point where the bulb "grows" new leaves and flowers on the basal plate/"stem".

If the growth node intact after your accidental spearing, the bulb will grow as normal as long as the wound doesn't cause the bulb to rot, though it will be smaller because of the lost energy.

If the growth node is damaged, the bulb will be unable to bloom as usual. It will probably decide to turn itself into a number of "bulblets." Just like when you "pinch" off the tip of plants in your garden - say, chrysanthemums or coleus - to make them produce more side-stems and become bushier, destroying the growth node in the center of a bulb usually causes the bulb to "branch" into a bunch of baby bulbs that are produced from the basal plate.

The bulblets will grow leaves next spring, and possibly bloom the following year.

There's always a little collateral damage in the garden - especially with bulbs. I lose a few every year due to spearing with the spading fork, or slicing in half with a shovel. But that's just the way of nature - plants multiply themselves because there's always the risk some will die, and somewhere in the middle is a stable population.

    Bookmark   September 30, 2011 at 2:23PM
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Thank you!
That's good information to know! I replanted them, hoping that they will come back to life. I always feel terrible when I injure my plants :(

    Bookmark   September 30, 2011 at 11:59PM
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