When to plant these

beekeeper961(8)October 10, 2010

Hi everyone, I got some ginger lilies, amaryllis, Japanese Irises, Crinum lilies , Crocosmia ,and Siberian irises. When should I plant these? The Japanese irises have leaves and sprouted a lot and the others are starting too. So should I keep them in a dark area until I plant them later or plant them now? Also I live in Central South Carolina and it is still warm in 70s. Thanks!

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donnabaskets(Zone 8a, Central MS)

Okay. You have quite a mix here, and this is not the ideal time to plant them all. Here's what I would do, with the understanding that you are taking a chance, and could possibly lose some of them.

I would grow the amaryllis indoors as a forced bulb for winter. Google "forcing amaryllis" and you can get full instructions. It's not hard. After the plant blooms, move it to the sunniest window you can find and continue to keep it watered (not overmuch) through the winter. Plant it in the ground after your last frost next spring. It may not bloom next summer, but should bloom in late spring to early summer in the years thereafter.

Plant the ginger lilies (in shade), Japanese Iris (near constant moisture and sun), Siberian iris (full sun), and Crinum lilies (full sun, consistent moisture) as soon as possible. If they can get some roots into the ground before frost, it will give them a much better chance of surviving.

Prepare a 2-3 foot diamater hole that is about one foot deep for each bulb (plant). Mix the soil in the hole with a bag of composted manure (Lowes, $1.26). MULCH (this is vital to insulate the bulbs from winter cold) each plant with several inches of pinestraw and water well.

The plant I am most concerned about is the crinum. Depending on the variety, it may be only marginally hardy for you. Give it plenty of mulch. Oh, and next spring, and each fall and spring thereafter, give it a topdressing of more manure. If it puts up green foliage next spring, you've won the bet. Don't expect blooms for two or three years, though. They hate being disturbed, so this is normal.

I don't know about you, but it is incredibly dry here. After you mix the soil and manure in the hole, remove a good bit of it and water well inside the bottom of the hole. Let the water soak in, then plant the bulb(s) and return the remaining soil to the hole, then water well again. Be sure they get water once a week until the rains begin again.

Crocosmia are typically planted in the spring for summer bloom. After the first summer, however, they should be winter hardy in the ground for you. You could pot them up for the winter (inside), but I personally don't have great luck with that. If you store them for the winter, the bulbs may lose their viability. I think I would plant them as above and mulch well, but this is only an educated guess. Maybe someone else will have an experienced opinion. I hope this helps you!

    Bookmark   October 12, 2010 at 4:37PM
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Thanks so much for your help Im going to plant them today. Yeah we have a ton of clay and it seems to hold water great but drainage is our problem here. I have some Japanese irises I have had great success with them before. Well it doesnt get too cold here the lowest is about 30f on certain occasions. So thanks for your help!

    Bookmark   October 16, 2010 at 12:49PM
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