Bulbs blooming indoors now can be saved and reused next
My paperwhite narcissus are blooming wonderfully now.
Can the bulbs be saved for future blooms? How should I preserve
Bloom time is the fourth stage of growth for Narcissus
tazetta, the paperwhite. Keep it growing throughout this
fourth stage and you'll see the flowers fade then its foliage
gradually die back as it reverts to stage one, dormancy. Keep the
dormant bulbs dry but insulated in soil until next fall and you can
then start them again.
How well they bloom each time is a direct result of how much
light they received while they were growing during the previous
bloom cycle. So keep the plant in full sun or under grow lights
until it begins to fade, and fertilize occasionally.
Try reusing the bulbs even if you forced them in water, says Deb
Hall, one of my fellow instructors from The Michigan School of
Gardening. "I was told by my grower that if I forced my Amaryllis
in water, in the bulb jars where the bulb grows its roots into
water rather than soil, I definitely couldn't reuse the bulbs. So I
tossed them onto my compost pile after they'd finished blooming.
Late that summer I found them growing and blooming again in my
compost, so I dug them out and moved them into the garden, then
lifted them and saved them for another year. I've learned that they
have to shed the water-grown roots and regrow roots for the soil
but that doesn't seem to bother them."
More insightful advice.
Here is the final installment of gardening gems I gathered by
asking other instructors what their students have said that begins
with,"I'm glad you told me:"
That you have to kill something three times before you
really know it. Now I don't feel so bad when something I planted
died. (Student of Janet Macunovich.)
That it's okay, that it won't kill it if I cut a perennial
back after it's finished blooming. It makes things like Pulmonaria
and perennial geranium look so much better. I'm also glad you said
that plants other than mums can be pinched during the growing
season to control their shape or size. (Student of Chris Ward,
perennial and ornamental shrub specialist and owner of Planters
The "why" and underlying science of fall leaf color and
which garden conifers would be right for me but didn't make it too
heavy. I like that "lite science" approach! (Student of Dennis
Groh, president of the American Conifer Society.)
To always listen to my customers and be very aware that
many people feel that landscapers don't listen. It took a while but
I learned that's true. When I finally started listening and writing
everything down my sales went up 75%! (Student of Rick Lazzell,
landscape designer and owner of Ecoscape Environmental Design.)
Why my hardy Cyclamen failed. Books had recommended I
plant it with the top of the corm at soil surface, but you said
that's sure death in our climate. I planted deep as you said, into
the ground up to my elbow, and now I have late fall cyclamen blooms
in my garden! (Student of Tony Reznicek, rock garden specialist and
Curator of University of Michigan Herbarium.)
That you can cut a piece of pussy willow or lilac in the
ground and it will make roots and grow! (Student of Bob Williams,
edible plant specialist.)
Happy New Year!
May your gardens grow like never before, and may you take all
you have learned forward with you into a great, green season!
Green thumbs up
to gardeners like M.H. of Livonia who keep on smiling and
recycling organic matter despite jibes such as, "You aren't really
taking all those potato peelings from our church pastie-making day
for your compost! We know you're putting them in your still to make
Green thumbs down
to sellers of bonsai junipers who don't alert buyers to the fact
that junipers will die unless they have a cold period each year. If
you received a cute little bonsai juniper as a gift, find a place
where it will be cold (45 degrees is great) for 2 to 3 months, then
move it there by stages.
Originally published 1/3/04