While renovating a bed...and other questions

handyman67September 13, 2010

While renovating a bed and transplanting several mature clumps of hemerocallis this year, I was extra careful because I knew there were also some tall allium and fritallaria bulbs in the same area.

I found 2 different types of "bulb", wish I had thought to take pics, but alas I did not.

One bulb was very much like an asiatic lily bulb in appearance but on the small side, say smaller than a golf ball.

The other type of bulb, was basically spherical in shape and had the appearance of a small peeled potato, but without the almost gritty/fibrous feel that a raw peeled potato would have.

Any idea , based upon my description, which is which?

Both have been moved and replanted elsewhere in a spot that will get more sun during the growing season, as I think that lack of enough sun and maybe even soil temp not getting high enough(due to being in partial shade most of the growing season, also the bulbs were approximately 12" below soil surface) may have been the reason neither came up at all this year.

I'm sure I'll know which was which next spring, if/when they poke their heads up out of the ground, that is if the squirrels dont volunteer to relocate them for me.

The other question regards tulip bulbs.

Several years ago my partner and I planted roughly 2 dozen different type of tulips, several peony and parrot flowering, as well as more conventional types. The following spring we had a awesome display of tulips that was the envy of the neighborhood, but alas there was not a repeat performance the following spring.

Is this normal for the "fancy" types of tulips? Or is there something we could have done differently as far as after care of the bulbs that we could have done to get future repeat spring blooms from these tulips??

Thank you in advance for your response and/or suggestions.


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lily51(OH 5)

While daffodils keep multiplying, getting more beautiful each season, tulips are just the opposite. Each year they get less showy, get more straggly. mini tulips fare a bit better. I finally gave in, dig up old bulbs and plant new tulip bulbs each year.

I plant bulbs all around the house, N,E, W and S. All do very well. When I planted daffodils on the north side of the house years ago, my father-in-law told me they would never grow there, too cold, etc. (he's a farmer, not a flower-grower) Of course, they did and have been ever since. That's what I love about them.

    Bookmark   September 14, 2010 at 4:44AM
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vetivert8(NI-NZ zone 9a)

If you could say what sort of Fritillaria you planted? They can have decidedly variable bulbs - including little bulblings that look like rice grains. From a distance - I'd suspect the 'asiatic lily' of being the fritillary, though I haven't found them as deep in the ground as you did, and I'm not familiar with your native species.

    Bookmark   September 14, 2010 at 6:00AM
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The allium is basically an onion, and that is what the bulb looks like.

When I was working at a nursery some years ago, a Dutch bulb grower told me that the fancier the tulip, the less reliable it is. His recommendation was to plant them a foot deep, to keep them from dividing so fast and "running out" and to just replant the fancy ones every year, like annuals. The old variety Appeldorns are the most reliable for coming back every year. I have had some for 20 years and they are there, every spring!

    Bookmark   September 14, 2010 at 9:41AM
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dublinbay z6 (KS)

I have to replace my tulip bulbs every 3-4 years--depends on how much they decline each year--but if you want big, showy, spectacular tulips, you probably need to plant new bulbs every year.

If possible, put them in a place where they do not get lots of water during the summer. When tulips disappear their second year, it is often because they were too wet during the summer. Keep them somewhat on the drier side after they have bloomed.


    Bookmark   September 17, 2010 at 7:14AM
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buyorsell888(Zone 8 Portland OR)

Donald, that is normal with tulips.

I have had excellent luck with species tulips and some plain yellow no id ones coming back year after year (some more than ten years) but not really fancy ones.

    Bookmark   September 18, 2010 at 11:07AM
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