Leucojum Aestivum (snowflake) problems

jardineiraNovember 18, 2010

I am new to the world of bulbs and a couple months ago decided to plant some spring blooming Leucojum Aestivum along with crocus and bluebells. The bulbs are in the same planter and all were planted at the depth and separation suggested to me by the nursery staff. I live in a generally wet area by the sea that gets a great amount of rain during the winters. However, we've had skittish weather lately that have caused most of my bulbs to sprout. I read a few other posts that said this isn't necessarily something to worry about and since I live in northern California where the winters are comparatively mild to the rest of the US, I'm guessing that the sprouting is the least of my worries.

I have never planted bulbs before, ever. So when I noticed that most were sprouting but one area was bare, I pulled aside the soil to check. That bulb was one of my Leucojum Aestivum, but it was reduced to orange goo. I assumed this was not good because I saw no signs of a usable bulb in it. All was mush. My other snowflakes were fine, but that one bulb was just awful.

What does that mean and how should I handle it?

If the bulb is rotten, could I plant another bulb in it's place ? (I know it's late but it was just 76 degrees here yesterday so it could still work...)

And lastly, we may not get snow, but we certainly get frost in my area. Should I be worried for my already sprouted bulbs?

Thank you for any advice you may have!

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If you only had one bulb rot, I wouldn't worry about it. They are in the ground here and have survived for more than ten years. You have yours in a container where you have control over the drainage. I don't know what you used for your potting mix, but if you intend this for a number of years I would suggest you visit the container forum for suggested long lasting mix recipes. Al

    Bookmark   November 19, 2010 at 9:16AM
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flora_uk(SW UK 8/9)

I tend to think of L aestivum more as an honorary perennial than a typical bulb because it can stay in situ for years and form big tough permanent clumps which can be split up like perennials. They will not flower at the same time as your crocuses. Here they flower about a month after the crocuses.

    Bookmark   November 19, 2010 at 1:12PM
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gardenerme(z9/21 inland socal)

I thought you were planting in the ground. If so, if you have areas where the drainage is of concern, such as the one with the rotten bulb, I just dig holes 3" deeper and line with 3 inches of rough gravel so that they drain really well. That has worked for me for all my bulbs for years.

    Bookmark   November 20, 2010 at 1:20PM
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vetivert8(NI-NZ zone 9a)

Your snowflakes may flower this coming spring. However, they can take a while to settle in. As flora says, they are great for naturalising.

If I were to compose a planter and wanted crocuses I think I'd include something like Chionodoxa, and maybe miniature Narcissus, or one of the tougher fritillaries such as assyriaca because - both the snowflakes and the bluebells produce lots of juicy leaves which, when they are finishing, tend to smother whatever is under them. And they multiply faster than rabbits. Much. So other bulbs can be monstered.

One way around it is to plant up in separate pots and use the big container as a cache pot. When the little bulbs have done their run you can take out their pot and replace them with something else.

Bluebells do well in dappled light. Snowflakes are fine out in the open - even in pasture. Many crocuses prefer an open environment - good sun and fresh air, and good drainage, with very little in the way of competition from other plants' leaves.

Something else you might like, but could be too late for this year, are the small Irises - reticulata, etc, and Anemone blanda which gives a good show over a longish time.

    Bookmark   November 20, 2010 at 11:01PM
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