Tag Archives: hyacinths

Forcing Bulbs to bloom for winter flowers

Forcing Bulbs For Winter Flowers is easy, fun and comes with a colorful reward. Winter flowering bulbs.
Source University of Minnesota October is the time of the year to begin potting your favorite spring bulbs to prepare them for winter flowering. Amaryllis, tulips, narcissus (daffodils), hyacinths, crocus, grape hyacinths, and lily of the valley are good choices and all can be forced into flower in late winter and early spring. A pot of tulips on the window sill can make a long cold winter easier to survive.

Purchase only top quality, good sized bulbs (bigger is better) should be used. Your neighborhood greenhouse operator will tell you the varieties that are best suited for forcing. Don’t mix varieties in the same container, since they vary in their dates of flowering.

Potting the bulbs in clean, sterile clay or plastic pots. Normally the “noses” of the bulbs are exposed. Do not bury the bulbs. The soil should be an open mixture of good (3 parts)garden loam, (2 parts)peat moss, and (1 part)sand. Don’t worry about soil fertility or feeding bulbs because they have enough stored food to flower one time.

Plant the bulbs close together in the pot. Usually 6 tulip bulbs, 3 hyacinths, 6 daffodils, or 15 crocus, will fit into a 6-inch pot. The flat side of the tulip bulb should be placed next to the rim of the pot since the largest leaf will always emerge and grow on that side, producing a more desirable looking pot.

It’s extremely important that bulbs be handled with care. Never allow the bulbs to be in temperatures above 65 degrees. The pot(s) should be loosely filled with soil. Don’t press the bulbs into the soil. Allow 1/4-inch or more of space at the top of the pot so it can be easily watered. The bulbs should be watered immediately upon planting, and thereafter the soil should never be allowed to become dry.

Forcing bulbs in Water. Hyacinths, crocus, and narcissus also can be forced in water. Special clear, glass vases are made for hyacinths or crocus. The bulb is placed in the upper portion, water in the lower portion. The vase is then kept in a cool, dark room (preferably under 50 degrees F) for four to eight weeks until the root system has developed and the top elongates. At this point it should be placed in a bright window, where the plant soon will blossom.

Bunch flowering narcissus, such as Paper White and Soleil d’Or, can be grown in shallow pans of water filled with crushed rocks or pebbles. The bulbs should be secured in the pebbles deeply enough so that the basal plate is in contact with the water. Keep them in a cool, dark room for several weeks to ensure root growth, then place in a sunny location. Each bulb will send up several flower stems bearing many blossoms.

Amaryllis Culture The amaryllis is a tender bulb that will bloom without special treatment when first purchased. It should be potted up in light, rich soil in a pot that is only 1–2 inches larger in diameter than the bulb. The upper half of the bulb should be exposed above the soil. After watering thoroughly, allow the soil to become quite dry. Water more frequently after the flower stalk appears, but never water when the soil is already moist. Put the plant in a warm, sunny spot until the flower buds show color, then move it out of direct sunlight.

After blooming, cut off the flowers to prevent seed formation. The foliage should be handled as if it were a sun loving houseplant. Place it in the brightest possible location indoors until it is warm enough to sink the pot in soil outdoors where it will receive dappled sunlight at first. Gradually move it to a brighter location where eventually it has full sun for at least five or six hours daily. Fertilize with a balanced houseplant food at regular intervals to build up the nutrients needed for blooming next year. Amaryllis should be brought indoors before the first frost in the fall.

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Forcing Bulbs For Winter Color

xmas color I have posted information about forcing bulbs in the past. This is just a reminder that time is running out if you want Christmas flowers.

When ordering or buying bulbs locally check to insure the bulbs have been pre-chilled, other wise they will grow producing foliage but will fail to bloom.

Amaryllis will flower about six weeks after planting, so pot now for Christmas blooms. Plant into pots just larger than the bulb, with 1/2 to 2/3s of the bulb above the soil surface.
After watering thoroughly, allow the soil to become dry. Water more frequently after the flower stalk appears, but never water when the soil is already moist.

Garlic order and plant garlic now and into winter before the ground freezes. The bulbs need cold in order to separate into cloves. Yes I do know Garlic is not a flowering pot plant but it is still time to plant next years Garlic in you garden.

Narcissus Paperwhites and Soleil d’Or can be grown without soil. Plant them in pebble filled containers with the base of the bulbs in contact with water at the bottom of the container. These bulbs don’t need chilling, but will benefit from a cool temperature (50 degrees F.) until the top shoot is a couple of inches long. At that point, you can move the plant into a warm, bright sunny area.

Crocus and Hyacinths can be forced, one bulb per jar or vase, in water alone without any soil. There are special forcing jars and vases for crocus and hyacinths.

Daffodil, Crocus, Hyacinths, Narcissus and Tulip bulbs plant bulbs in a good quality potting soil so the tops are not covered with more than 1/4 – 1/2 inch of soil. Put pots in a cool sunny place about 50 degrees F. works well, until the top shoot is about 2 inches long. Keep the soil slightly damp, not wet. Constantly wet soil may cause your bulbs to rot.
Note For a better effect plant Tulip bulbs with the flat side facing the out side of your pot.

Tulips, Narcissus (Daffodils), Hyacinths And More
Tulips, Daffodils And Hyacinths – Fall Planting
Purdue University Cooperative Extension Service
University of Missouri fact sheet
Iowa State University Horticulture Guide

October Gardening Tips University of Nebraska

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Tulips, Narcissus (Daffodils), Hyacinths And More

Forcing Bulbs For Winter Flowers is easy, fun and comes with a colorful reward.
Source University of Minnesota October is the time of the year to begin potting your favorite spring bulbs to prepare them for winter flowering. Tulips, narcissus (daffodils), hyacinths, crocus, scillas, grape hyacinths, and lily of the valley are good choices and all can be forced into flower in late winter and early spring. A pot of tulips on the window sill can make a long cold winter easier to survive.

Select only top quality, good sized(large) bulbs, (bigger is better) should be used. Your neighborhood greenhouse operator will tell you the varieties that are best suited for forcing. Don’t mix varieties in the same container, since they vary in their flowering dates.

Potting the bulbs in clean, sterile clay or plastic pots. Normally the “noses” of the bulbs are exposed. Do not bury the bulbs. The soil should be an open mixture of good (3 parts)garden loam, (2 parts)peat moss, and (1 part)sand. Don’t worry about soil fertility or feeding bulbs because they have enough stored food to flower one time.

Plant the bulbs close together(not touching) in the pot. Usually 6 tulip bulbs, 3 hyacinths, 6 daffodils, or 15 crocus, will fit into a 6 inch pot. The flat side of the tulip bulb should be placed next to the rim of the pot since the largest leaf will always emerge and grow on that side, producing a more desirable looking pot.

It’s extremely important that bulbs be handled with care. Never allow the bulbs to be in temperatures above 65 degrees. The pot(s) should be loosely filled with soil. Don’t press the bulbs into the soil. Allow 1/4-inch or more of space at the top of the pot so it can be easily watered. The bulbs should be watered immediately upon planting, and thereafter the soil should never be allowed to become dry.

Forcing bulbs in Water Hyacinths, crocus, and narcissus also can be forced in water. Special clear, glass vases are made for hyacinths or crocus. The bulb is placed in the upper portion, water in the lower portion. The vase is then kept in a cool, dark room (preferably under 50 degrees F) for four to eight weeks until the root system has developed and the top elongates. At this point it should be placed in a bright window, where the plant soon will blossom.

Bunch Narcissus, such as Paper White and Soleil d’Or, can be grown in shallow pans of water filled with crushed rocks or pebbles. The bulbs should be secured in the pebbles deeply enough so that the basal plate is in contact with the water. Keep them in a cool, dark room for several weeks to ensure root growth, then place in a sunny location. Each bulb will send up several flower stems bearing many blossoms.

Amaryllis Culture The amaryllis is a tender bulb that will bloom without special treatment when first purchased. It should be potted up in light, rich soil in a pot that is only 1 or 2 inches larger in diameter than the bulb. The upper half of the bulb should be exposed above the soil. After watering thoroughly, allow the soil to become quite dry. Water more frequently after the flower stalk appears, but never water when the soil is already moist. Put the plant in a warm, sunny spot until the flower buds show color, then move it out of direct sunlight.

After blooming, cut off the flowers to prevent seed formation. The foliage should be handled as if it were a sun loving houseplant. Place it in the brightest possible location indoors until it is warm enough to sink the pot in soil outdoors where it will receive dappled sunlight at first. Gradually move it to a brighter location where eventually it has full sun for at least five or six hours daily. Fertilize with a balanced houseplant food at regular intervals to build up the nutrients needed for blooming next year. Amaryllis should be brought indoors before the first frost in the fall.

Read more:
Purdue University Cooperative Extension Service
University of Missouri fact sheet
Iowa State University Horticulture Guide ‘PDF File’

Country life is a good life.

Happy Fall gardening

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Spring Flower Gardens – Plan Now!

Spring flowering bulbs, need to ordered soon, spring flower beds will need to be dug and amended with compost and fertilizer. It won’t be all that long until we are nearing the optimum planting time in northern cool/cold weather states.

Flowering bulb Planting Chart

Garlic while not a flowering spring bulb, needs to be planted about the same time you plant your spring flowering bulbs. Plant individual cloves 4 to 6 inches deep and 6 to 8 inches apart.

Bulb beds ‘Must’ be well drained. Bulbs like damp not wet soil. Bulbs exposed to prolonged periods of cool wet soil will soon rot in the ground resulting in a waste of both time and money and a failed spring flower garden.

For a longer blooming season, mix your garden with early, middle and late season blooming bulbs. Tulips and other bulbs have very well defined bloom times. A bit of research and planning can keep color in your garden for many weeks. Whether you purchase your bulbs locally or mail order them, keep your bulbs cool.
If you’ve purchased bulbs early, when you can get the best selections, store them in a cool, dark place. A basement or an unheated closet is good choice. Don’t store bulbs in plastic containers. You’ll shorten the life of your bulbs if they aren’t exposed to fresh air. Use brown paper bags or boxes. Handle your bulbs gently they are easily bruised and this may cause them to rot in the soil after planting.

Till your bulb bed soil deep as possible, 10 to 12 inches deep, amending your soil with peat moss or well decomposed compost.

Bulbs will grow better in well drained and aerated soil. Grouped, but random. Scatter bulbs randomly in groups of 6 to 18 for the best combination of color and natural appearance. Be sure to maintain the minimum spacing specified on the packaging your bulbs came in.

Proper planting is important. Dig your planting holes, see planting chart for recommended planting depth. When you place your bulb in its hole, remember roots {large} end down, pointy side up. Don’t allow your bulbs to lay on their sides when covering them with soil.

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Rain And Garlic

Beer maids and Gardeners have one thing in common. With effort ‘Anything’ is possible.

beer maid FYI, a wise person once said congress and baby diapers should be changed often and for the same reason. They both stink! Get out, vote the bums out of office.

My weather man promised me more than 1 inch of rain Monday night and Tuesday morning. This will be the first measurable rain(more than 1/10 inch) in about 80 days. So I hastily planted a large patio pot with some left over garlic cloves. Being in a patio pot maybe I can keep my newly planted garlic well water this winter and enjoy my garden fresh garlic harvest in about 180 – 210 days. Grin … Garlic and Onions are two root crops that I can not do without.

If you haven’t tried young fresh garlic you are missing out on a special meal treat. Pull or dig young garlic while the bulb end is still no larger than your thumb. It is very mild and you can use most of the tops as well as the bulb end in any recipe that calls for garlic.

Smiling … almost any meal is better when cooked and served with fresh garlic, onions and mild or hot chili peppers.

Hint If your soil is not yet frozen you still have time to plant Garlic and spring flowering bulbs such as Tulips and Daffodils.

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Tulips, Daffodils And Hyacinths – Fall Planting

It’s nearing the time of the year to plant your spring blooming bulbs. Tulips, Daffodils And Hyacinth bulbs will soon be arriving everywhere. Soil will be cooling and you want to get your bulbs planted before your soil becomes frozen and un-diggable.

daffodils Properly preparing the soil for bulb planting is important. Good soil drainage is essential in raising bulbs. If you have a soil with a high clay content, it can be improved by adding compost, peat moss or some other source of organic material. The organic material should be worked in the top twelve inches of soil (eighteen inches is even better).

Fertilization
Both spring and summer bulbs need phosphorous to encourage root development. Keep in mind that phosphorous moves very little once applied to the soil. Some bulbs are planted 6 to 8 inches deep. The phosphorus needs to be mixed in the soil below where the bulbs will be located so it can be utilized by the bulb roots. Mix bonemeal or superphosphate with the soil in the lower part of the planting bed as it is being prepared.

If bulbs are going to be maintained in a planting bed more than one year, it is important to supply additional fertilizer. Spring flowering bulbs should have mixed into the soil in the fall five tablespoons of 10-10-10 soluble fertilizer (or equivalent bulb fertilizer) plus two cups of bonemeal per ten square foot area. As soon as the shoots break through the ground in the spring, repeat the above soluble fertilizer application. Do not fertilize spring flowering bulbs after they have started flowering. This tends to encourage the development of bulb rot and sometimes shortens the life of the flowers.

Summer and fall flowering bulbs should be fertilized monthly from shoot emergence until the plants reach full flower. Apply seven tablespoons of 10-10-10 soluble fertilizer (or equivalent bulb fertilizer) split over two or three applications over a ten square foot area.

The optimum pH range for bulbs is 6 to 7. A soil test of the planting area is necessary to determine if lime needs to be applied to adjust the soil pH. If needed, limestone should be worked into the soil. For good bud development, work bonemeal into the soil at planting.

Planting Location
dutch-tulips Before selecting the location to plant bulbs in the landscape, consider the light requirements of the plant. Does the plant require full sunshine, partial shade or full shade? Since early spring bulbs bloom before most trees or shrubs leaf out, they can successfully be planted under trees and shrubs. Many summer blooming bulbs require full sun or partial shade.

Spring bulbs planted on a south slope will bloom earlier than the same bulbs planted on a north slope. Spring bulbs planted on a hillside will bloom earlier than bulbs planted in a valley. Cold air is heavier than warm air and behaves like water. It flows down the slope, settling in the low areas.

Planting Depth
The general rule of thumb for planting spring bulbs is to plant two to three times as deep as the bulbs is tall. This means most large bulbs like tulips or daffodils will be planted about 8 inches deep while smaller bulbs will be planted 3-4 inches deep. Planting depth is measured from the bottom of the bulb. This rule of thumb on planting depth does not apply to summer bulbs which have varied planting requirements. For planting depth of summer bulbs, consult the information supplied with the bulbs.

Tulips, daffodils and hyacinths should be planted with the nose of the bulb upward and the root plate downward. The best method of planting is to dig and loosen the entire bed to the proper depth. Press the bulbs into the soil in the planting area and cover with soil. Because the soil in a spaded bed is better drained and prepared, the planting will last longer. This method of planting is preferred over trying to plant bulbs one by one with a bulb planter. In many soils bulb planters do not work well, if at all.

Watering Bulbs
Water the bulbs following planting. This will help settle the soil in the planting bed plus provide needed moisture for the bulbs to start rooting. Fall planted bulbs must root before cold weather. Avoid over-watering at planting time since this can result in bulb rot.

For both spring and summer bulbs, start watering when the flower buds first appear on the plant if the soil is dry. Shallow watering will not do the job. Remember that the bulbs may have been planted 6 to 8 inches deep and the water needs to soak to that depth. Through the bud, bloom and early foliage stage, add about one inch of water per week if this amount has not been supplied from rainfall. Water with a soaker hose to keep water off the bloom. Bulbs like alliums, or the shallow planted bulbs, will rot quickly if over-watered in the heat of summer.

Mowing Foliage One of the visual problems with spring bulbs is the foliage that remains after bloom. The foliage can become unsightly if the bulbs are planted in a public area of the landscape. Foliage should not be mowed off until it turns yellow and dies back naturally.

The foliage on the smaller bulbs such as snowdrops and squill will die back rapidly and cause little problem. The foliage on the larger bulbs like tulips and daffodils will take several weeks to die back. Keep in mind that after flowering, the plant needs the green leaves to manufacture food (photosynthesis) that is stored in the bulb for next year’s growth. If the homeowner mows off the foliage early, the plant can no longer manufacture nutrient reserves for next year. This results in a small, weak bulb which will gradually decline and die out.

There are several ways to divert attention from the yellowing bulb foliage. Interplant the bulbs in the spring using one or two colors of annuals. Place bulbs behind the plants on the front edge of a border planting. Plant taller flowering bulbs behind lower growing foreground shrubs. Plant bulbs with groundcovers and perennials like hosta or daylilies.

Staking
Some of the summer blooming bulbs like dahlias and gladioli occasionally need extra support to be able to remain erect. A support ring is an easy way to support plants that have weak stems. Stakes will also work for this purpose. Drive stakes in place at planting time to avoid accidental damage to the bulbs or tubers.

Mulching
The bulb bed should be covered with two or three inches of mulch. Mulch will help minimize temperature fluctuation and maintain an optimal moisture level in the planting bed. The small, early booming bulbs should not be mulched.
Digging and Storing Spring Bulbs

Once the foliage dies back or matures in the late spring or early summer, the bulb is dormant. Summer is the dormant period for spring bulbs. As the foliage dies back, the roots that nourish the bulbs also die back. With fall rains, the bulb comes out of summer dormancy and roots begin to grow again to provide the bulb nutrients and moisture.

Once the spring bulbs enter dormancy, the time is right to dig the bulbs if needed. Some bulbs benefit from digging to divide the bulbs and spread them out over the bed.

If the choice is to dig bulbs, they should be stored in a well ventilated place and replanted in the fall. Every five years daffodils and crocus should be dug and replanted to prevent overcrowding. The first sign of overcrowding will be a decrease in the flower size, uneven bloom and uneven plant height. When this occurs, dig, spread bulbs out and replant immediately.

Digging and Storing Summer Bulbs
Most summer flowering bulbs should be dug and stored when the leaves on the plants turn yellow. Use a spading fork to lift the bulbs from the ground. Wash off any soil that clings to the bulbs, except for bulbs that are stored in pots or with the soil around them.

Leave the soil on achimenes, begonia, canna, caladium, dahlia and ismene bulbs. Store these bulbs in clumps on a slightly moistened layer of peat moss or sawdust in a cool place. Wash and separate them just before planting.

Spread the washed bulbs in a shaded place to dry. When dry, store them away from sunlight in a cool, dry basement, cellar, garage or shed at 60 to 65F. Avoid temperatures below 50 or above 70F unless different instructions are given for a particular bulbs.

Inspect your bulbs for signs of disease. Keep only large, healthy bulbs that are firm and free of spots. Discard undersized bulbs.

If you have only a few bulbs, you can keep them in paper bags hung by strings from the ceiling or wall. Store large numbers of bulbs on trays with screen bottoms. Separate your bulbs by species or variety before storing them.

Be sure that air can circulate around your stored bulbs. Never store bulbs more than two or three layers deep. Deep piles of bulbs generate heat and decay.

hyacinths Most flowering bulbs are best stored over a long period at temperatures between 60F and 68F. Try to keep the humidity in the storage area as low as possible. Never store bulbs in an area where ethylene gas produced by fruit is present. Bulbs can be stored in a container with peat moss, sand, perlite or vermiculite. Another common storage method is to place the bulbs in a very loose knit sack and hang in a sheltered, cool area. Do not divide or separate bulbs before storing them.

Ron Cornwell, University of Illinois

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