? Bulbs Forum FAQ: Other Bulbs

Frequently Asked Questions

 ? How Do I Plant Allium?

Theresa Holshouser - IL - I would like to know if anyone knows how to plant allium (sunny twinkles). I got them free when I ordered some other flowers. There are no directions on how to plant then. Can I plant them in a pot now or do I need to wait and plant them outside in spring.

A. Tussing - 5 - You can plant your Sunny Twinkles now in pots, then transplant them to the garden once growth is apparent. However, you can also wait until spring and just plant them then. Plant your Sunny Twinkles (Allium moly) about 4 inches deep. They will spread rapidly, as most members of the family will do.

 ? How Do I Get My Potted Amaryllis Bulb to Bloom Again in the Garden?

Randy - I would like the procedure to get my amaryllis bulb to bloom again this winter. I have had this plant for 2 years and it did not blossom last year. This year I have had it out all summer in a shady spot and it is doing great.

Alta 56N(zone2) - Just bring the amaryllis in, and leave it to dry off in the pot. It won't need light(but it doesn't HAVE to be dark). The bulb will start to send up a flower bud when it's ready. Then you can re-pot if you need to, but they like to be pot bound, so it isn't always necessary. If you don't see any signs of new growth in a couple or three months, you can encourage it by watering once Gradually increase watering as plant grows. Feed often when the plant is in full growth to make good flowers for next year. Good luck

Robin (CA) - 9b - They can flourish outside in mild climates. Plant them right after bloom, setting bulb top even with ground level. They do not care about soil type or whether or not they get watered. They are supposed to need full sun, but mine bloom in partial shade with only a couple of hours of sun daily in my hot climate. Leaves appear in fall and winter. They are dormant in spring and early summer. Bloom should be in August. Avoid lifting and dividing, as it will take several years afterward to become re-established and bloom. Good luck!!

 ? How Do I Plant Anemone blanda 'Windflower'? Which End Is Up?

Sue - I'm about to plant some windflower bulbs, which resemble little lumps of coal. Is there any way to determine which end is up? Or does it matter? Also, I seem to remember something about soaking the bulbs in water before planting. I'd appreciate hearing about any planting tips you might have.

Terry Smale - Bulbs, corms and tubers in the garden trade have often been out of soil for some time and can get quite dehydrated - never buy Galanthus and Eranthis like that, they will hardly ever establish. Yes, if they look shriveled, soak your Anemones in cold water for 24 hours or until they look plump again. You can often see little lumps in the center of the tuber on one side, these are growth buds which should be on top. However, don't worry because if you plant upside-down, the leaves and flowers will still develop OK.

Traci Lloyd MI/Z5 - I planted about 30 of these Windflowers last year in a flower bed that had the poorest soil. I didn't (and still don't) know a whole lot about bulbs, but I do know that you can just throw these things in the ground at the recommended depth, water and walk away. They'll be beautiful next year and you'll wonder why you didn't plant 100 more!

Andie Rathbone (MO/Zone 6a) - I've never been able to figure it out, but it doesn't seem to matter, as every anemone I've ever planted has bloomed like crazy.

Skip MNZ4 - John Bryan, noted authority on all types of bulbs, corms, tubers, etc., says that if you can't tell on the Anemone which end is which, just plant it horizontally.

 ? How Do I Store My Caladiums for the Winter?

Marcy/OK Zone 7 - I am planning to dig up my caladiums for winter storage this weekend, as the foliage finally wilted. I would like to pot up one of them to use as an indoor plant. Do caladiums need a dormant period?

dorie - Yes, they sure do, and they are telling you that by wilting and turning brown. They have used up all of the energy stored in the 'bulb' for this year and have to rest before they will be ready to start a new growing cycle.

After you bring them in, you can re-pot them into fresh potting soil, but keep them stored in a cool, dark place. You will only need to water once a month, if that! some people say that Caladiums have a growing season of six months, and then a rest period of six months. If you skimp on the rest period you will not be happy.

Ronald Conboy/formerly Chef - Fl/9b - Here in Florida, we can always buy Caladium bulbs. Therefore; with careful planting you can have them year-round. Given that you protect them from the occasional freeze that we have here in Central Florida. Mine are all in the ground, seeing that yours are in a pot they will die down according to the particular cycle of that plant. One way that I have found to make them last longer, is to clip their flowers off as soon as they appear. They do need a "dry" period of a couple of months when they go dormant, or they will most certainly rot.

Barbara (NJ-z6) - For the past several years, all I do with my Caladium in pots is move them to a place where they won't get wet, in the fall. Then after the foliage dies back, I cut it to soil level and let it dry out completely. I keep the plants, pot and all, in the cellar until March. Then I start watering them lightly and when I see some growth above the soil, they get moved to a sunny area or outside if weather permits. Mine come back bigger and better every year. Just remember to add some new soil and fertilize in the spring/summer.

 ? I Have Yellow Leaves on My Calla; What's Wrong?

Paula - PA/Z6 - I have some Callas sprouting in a pot and the leaves get brown spots on the leaf edges (looks like they are burnt) and then the leaf turns yellow and dies. I have to cut them off and I hate to do that before they even bloom. Any ideas as to what causes it? I mostly have them at an East window so they get only morning sun but sometimes I have them under a grow light and it happens both places. I have it on a humidity tray and keep it moist which is what they like. And also fertilize it when buds form.

Mike - Your callas are probably responding to an excess of something in the water, probably metallic salts. Callas originated in South Africa, growing in constantly moist environments (with the exception of the pink calla, Z. rehmanii, and its hybrids) and as such have a heavier need for water than many other plants. If you use rainwater, or water which is not chemically treated, and keep the plants standing in about an inch of water at all times, the problem should resolve itself on the new growth.

 ? How Do I Grow the Fall-Blooming Crocus?

Lisa - I'm planning to try some of the fall-blooming crocuses this year, and I'm very curious about these because I've never noticed them, either in MA (where I live now) or in NJ (where I grew up). I've seen them in a number of catalogs, and am wondering why they're not something that more of us are familiar with..? Are they as hardy and prolific as their spring-blooming cousins? With similar needs? I'm looking at the saffron crocus (C sativus) and some different forms of generic (?) fall-blooming crocus -- are these closely related to the "snow crocus" that's blooming all over my yard now?

Boca Joe - I live in central Maryland and have grown these beauties for years! I add a few dozen more each fall! They have been very easy , like full sun and average (I have clay) garden soil with good drainage. Plant them in patches of 5 or 10 up front where you can see them. They are very prolific and the flowers are slightly smaller than the jumbo crocus that bloom in the spring. They bloom for me reliably every October, November and December in shades of powdery lavender blue, a great contrast to the warm fall colors. I found the species 'speciousus' the best. Order them by June or buy them from your local garden center as soon as they arrive in late August or early September. They will bloom this fall for you. Plant them about 3" deep. They will increase and re-seed over the years.

McClure and Zimmerman offer the best selection and price by mail. Try them, you will not be disappointed!

Karen Edwards - To All: I found the address for McClure & Zimmerman - Friesland, Wi. 53935 (414) 326-4220

Joann Zimmerman - I planted my fall crocus last Spring and they did bloom in Fall. My question is: are these plants supposed to come up in May all ready? What do they do now that they are up, and will they bloom again in Fall? They are not blooming now; they are up, about 8 inches high, and green.

Marianne - My saffron crocus send up green foliage in the spring which dies down in summer.

In late fall (sometimes into November) they will bloom. I also have another fall-blooming variety which comes up in the lawn every year.

 ? First Time Dahlia Grower Needs Help!

cbest - I've talked to friends and done some reading. I live in zone 5 (KCMO) and I've dug and prepared (I think) the plants for winter. Any further suggestions? I've asked about storing in peat vs. hanging in an onion sack or bag. Should I dust with a preventative fungicide? I usually choose to act when a problem is evident but I understand that fungi are a 'different species'. What about propagation? Do I cut each of these tubers and expect a blooming plant next year? If I cut when is the best time? Or is this potato looking thing what I plant next spring (after frost threat right?) Can I cut from the stem and include the tubers, and expect blooming plants?

Debbi S. Z4/5, NH - Have been doing Dahlias for about 5 years now. This year I bought some new ones just to have some different! I like to wash off the dirt & let them dry for about a day. Then I layer them with newspaper, about 4 or 5 pages thick into a cardboard box, then cover with a blanket. They are kept in an unheated garage. Every so often I check them to see if they are starting to "shrivel", if so mist with a little water. When I used to save them in an onion bag, they had a tendency to get too dry. To divide, cut the tubers where there are "eyes", up near the stems. Just slice down alongside a tubette (?). I thought all tubettes made new plants, but they don't.

Sometimes I put the whole bunch back in if I'm not sure where the eyes are. The clump will just be bigger when you pull them up. Any more questions, email me...

Paula Meyer(Z4 WI) - After losing dahlias other winters using different storage methods, this year I tried something MUCH EASIER that I read about in the book "Crockett's Flower Garden." You wash your tubers to remove as much of the dirt as possible. Cut off the hairy type roots. Then melt a block of paraffin wax in a pan of water, big enough to dip your tubers in. Jim Crockett stated that he did his on his grill outside. Once the paraffin is completely melted, you can turn the heat off to avoid the wax from over heating--it takes a long time for it to cool to the point where you can't use it. Anyway, just dip the tubers in the wax, covering the whole tuber, and then let them sit on some wax paper until the paraffin is cooled. You can then store your tubers ANYWHERE that is frost-free. Mine have been this way for a month, sitting on a shelf & have not shriveled one bit. There is no need to remove the paraffin in the spring, just plant the tubers as usual. This is really a simple, fool-proof method. I have received dahlia tubers from mail order sources that were coated with the wax, and they were in perfect condition and grew well. I hope you find this method useful. It is perfect for those who live where it is too cold to store them in the garage,(I would have "dahlia cubes"), and do not have a cool enough basement to keep them in. E-mail me if you have any questions. :)Paula NOTE: To clean the wax out of your pan, just let it sit and cool until the wax forms a solid layer on the top of the water, then simply lift it out of the pan. You can even save it for use later.

 ? Can I Bring Elephant Ears Inside For the Winter?

Didi - 7 - I planted a single elephant ear plant in my "shady garden" this year just to see what would happen. The elephant ear plant is still looking pretty happy. The lady in the store where I got it said she brings hers in during the winter and then takes it outside in the spring. Did she know what she was talking about. My plant is HUGE, how big will the root be? How big of a pot do I put it in? When should I do this? Should I just leave it alone and not do anything? I really enjoyed having it in my little jungle corner with the hostas and impatients, I would hate to lose it.

Barbara NJ-z6 - Didi: Your elephant ear comes from a tuber, as large as a fist. You should dig up the tuber, AFTER the foliage has died back (but, BEFORE the ground freezes). It's only the tuber that is brought inside for the winter, not the whole plant. (!They can get 10 feet high!) You should cut the foliage off at ground level and dig a large area around it to get at the tuber. Then brush off the dirt and clip the roots off. Just store it in vermiculite or some light substance like sawdust, for the winter. Check on it periodically and if it seems to start shrinking too much, plump it up by adding a little water to the vermiculite. After your last frost, you can replant it. The smaller, variegated plants you have sound like Caladiums. These too should be dug up and saved in the same manner. Both plants seems to need a dormant, dry period to give their best performance in the spring/summer. Since the foliage has died on the smaller ones, you had best dig them soon. Otherwise they may begin to rot. If you want to get a head start on spring, start them off indoors around mid-March, or 6 weeks before your "spring weather". Then you can plant them outside and they will have a head start. Good luck. Email me directly if you have any questions. I love my caladiums and elephant ears. There are many different color combinations out there too!

larry - 5 - There are two genera that I have seen sold as "Elephant Ear Plant", Calocasia and Alocasia. The leaves are very similar, I think the Alo. leaf is cut up to the petiol and the Calocasia leaf is webbed at that point. I had an Alocasia inside for years and it can get huge in good light. For that plant the storage organ is the stem and it can easily be multiplied from stem cuttings placed in soil or water. Calocasia might grow inside, it grows from a bulb and I think you will lose the foliage when you move it.

 ? Help! I've Had Three Years of Failure With Gladiolas.

Kenn Cygan - 6 - Glads have been one of my favorite garden flowers. My crops were usually spectacular. However the last three years have produced very disappointing results.

Each of the last three years the bulbs germinated well (I plant new & old bulbs every spring)and the plants looked very healthy. Flower heads begin to form with everything looking great. Then the flower heads brown and die and the foliage does the same. What flowers that I do get are all brown and they wilt and die quickly. I planted new Fordhook varieties and acidenthera this year. I rotate crops throughout my garden and I fertilize with bone meal, greensand and rock phosphate.

Any suggestions on correcting this problem for next season will be greatly appreciated. I live in zone 6 on the southern coast of Maine.

Mike - Sounds like a continuing infestation of thrips to me. These insects survive the winter as adults or larva on the old bulbs, or in garden litter, and emerge during the spring. They can be detected by looking closely between the folds of the leaves or buds, and are about 1/8 inch long and brown. The brown streaks you mention, along with the rapid wilting of the flowers, is typical of the damage they do.

Before storing your bulbs this winter, dust them with Sevin. This will take care of most of the over wintering insects. To be sure that the plants remain clean next year, begin spraying bi-weekly with an insecticide as soon as the plants reach a couple of inches in height. Be consistent, and you should be able to cure the problem in one season.

Paula Meyer(Z4 WI) - I totally agree with Mike, but would like to add that it would be a good idea not to plant your glads anywhere near where they have been before for at least a year. Also don't plant them near daylilies, as they also are very susceptible to thrips, but hardly suffer any damage unless it really gets severe. Good luck.

Lenore - 5 - I've been growing glads for some time and have found from experience never to keep corms over three years. I buy new corms on a regular basis. Also, whenever something doesn't look right in the garden, I rough it out and get rid of it. (bag it and get it off my property - don't compost it). Glads are very susceptible to virus so don't plant them anywhere near melons or beans.

You can tell if you have thrips by using a good hand examining leaf folds on non flowering plants or by taking apart the florets on flowering plants.

I soak my corms right after digging in the fall for 1/2 hour in a warm solution of 1/2 cup vinegar, 1 1/2 T benomyl, 3 T captan to 1 gallon of water. I dry them on mesh trays and then store them in my cool cellar.

Next spring when you are ready to plant, check your corms carefully. Cut a few in half. If there are any brown streaks or mottling inside, get rid of them. Also, rotate as much as you can. Try not to plant in the same place for a couple years and be aware of what was planted the year before. One year I had a disaster when I planted on the same ground I had pumpkins on the year before.

 ? I Want to Move My Gladiola Bulbs: When Should It Be Done?

Tina Mortland - 8b - I live near Austin, Texas and I was wondering if I could move my glad bulbs at this time of year. If not this time of year what time of year should I be able to move them safely? Any information will be helpful.

Andie Rathbone (MO/Zone 6a) - You may not have to lift your gladiola bulbs. You may be far enough south in Austin that they will winter over. I go to Austin a lot on business, and as I recall (except for that nasty ice storm you had at the beginning of February this year) you really don't get real hard freezes too often. You may want to dig most of them up, but leave some in the ground to see if they winter over. You can dig the bulbs up any time now, dust with an anti-fungicide, and store in vermiculite in a cool, dry place.

Rebecca - 8b - I live in Brenham to your west and use the same procedures. I've found I get a better turnaround on the bulbs if I lift them each fall.

 ? Are Hyacinths Really Perennial?

ruth anne (IL. zone 5a) - Am going to ask the same question about hyacinths as tulips - Why are we having such bad luck getting our hyacinths to perennialize? I don't mean the grape hyacinth (those do just fine), I mean the wonderfully scented big hyacinths like we buy potted around Easter for our tables. Is there a variety that perennializes more easily than others? Or is that big one really just good for bulb forcing in my zone??

Linda D (MI/Z4) - I have hyacinths that come up every year - not as big as they initially were, but at least they come up. Are you making sure the plants receive enough water after blooming and throughout the summer? Do you deadhead the spent blossoms, and make sure you do not cut the leaves at all, but allow them to yellow and die? Do you top-dress with bulb-booster fertilizer or bone meal in the fall? In your zone they certainly are getting the cold they need. Perhaps a different bulb supplier may give better results.

Andie Rathbone - The hyacinths that I plant as bulbs in the fall come back year after year. I usually buy medium size bulbs, as the flowers withstand the wind and the rain much better that the really large bulbs.

 ? I Need Help in Getting My Tuberoses to Bloom.

Joyce - Help please! I grow my tuberoses indoors (I live in Alaska) and the plants look beautiful but only one of them bloomed. I just finished letting them go dormant and when I pulled the bulbs out all of the main bulbs had little babies all around them. So now I have three questions. How can I get them to bloom and is it normal for them to have all these baby bulbs? Do I break off the little bulbs from the main one?

Betty (calz10-Sunsetz17) - They like a long day in the sun, and summer heat to bloom. If you can simulate that, they should be fine. Leave the little bulbs alone for another season, then separate them into their own pot. The singles are generally hardier than the doubles and seem to have a stronger scent indoors

GardenWeb Bulbs Forum FAQ Page | Bulbs Forum | Other Forums

Letters and Comments | Mailing List | Technical Problems

Copyright © GardenWeb