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Lily of the valley bulbs seem to have disintegrated

Posted by eilnan 8 (My Page) on
Mon, Oct 14, 13 at 17:41

Hi there
I got some lily of the valley bulbs or rhizomes and planted in container last June in a UK garden. They didn't appear above the soil at all so I dug them up last week. There seems to be nothing left of the bulbs and just some of the roots remain (sorry not sure what they are technically called).
Should I give them up as a bad job?
Would appreciate some advice

Follow-Up Postings:

RE: Lily of the valley bulbs seem to have disintegrated

I have dug up some while weeding, and would describe them as rhizomes with some longish bulb- like buds ( there is probably a proper botanical term for them).

I guess that they dry out quickly , so store bought ones could always be on the past- prime point.

I reckon it would easier to ask someone with that plant/ weed in their garden if you could just dig up some.

I have an allotment and have often watched/met so getting rid of that " untidy nuisance".

If you want to keep them in a container, give it another go, if you want to plant them in a prominent spot somewhere, think twice.

Bye, Lin

RE: Lily of the valley bulbs seem to have disintegrated

The name for them is "pips" :-) And they can suffer from both too much and too little water. Purchasing and planting just the pips bare root, one runs the risk of them being too dry or of being stored too long. I don't find this a successful method of planting at all.

Purchasing them 'in the green' or as started plants in early spring is a much more successful option. They are easily transplanted at this stage and with luck should bloom on schedule. There is a risk of rot involved if the soil they are planted in does not drain well or is too moisture retentive. Otherwise, your only risk is that they establish too well and take over the garden!

RE: Lily of the valley bulbs seem to have disintegrated

If the 'roots' are like skinny pencils and have smaller roots coming from them - that's what you're looking for. Not a 'bulb' as such. (If you grow Anemone nemorosa - they're similar in looking like a mass of dead roots.)

Carefully shake them out of your mix and replant close to the surface, yet covered by about 1"/2.5cm of mix, and lightly water in. A wide and fairly shallow container is probably better than a deep one (4" or 10cm) with excellent drain holes (about as fat as your thumb and three for preference).

Make sure your mix both holds water and is free-draining. Soil-less could be better.

Morning sun or dappled light - and a light cover of 'sweet' autumn leaves that don't turn to a thick caked coat. (Hawthorn or small japanese maple for example.)

As has been said - if they dried out before planting then they can take a year to recover, or may never make it. If they don't show up next year then - acquire some fresh pips - and be Very Careful where you tip this lot out of the pot. They could yet surprise you!

RE: Lily of the valley bulbs seem to have disintegrated

I did realise they were invasive after I bought them which is why I thought I'd put them in a container. When I planted them there were rhizomes and pips but now there just seems to be pips. Will try again and perhaps try more drainage holes in container and replant as you advise vetivert8. Thanks to all

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