It's Sping flowering bulb time here in the southern hemisphere and I'm
wondering if I can use a chemical fertilser that says it's for flowers
and fruit on the daffodil/jonquil bulbs that are flowering now so that
they build up their reserves for flowering next Spring???
If that's not recommended, what can I do now (Spring) to make sure I
get lots of flowers next year please?
I generally wait until the early spring flowers start to fade. Then I
feed my entire garden.
For bulbs and bulb-like plants (e.g., corms, tubers, rhizomes), I give
them something when I plant them. At the bottom of the planting hole
(which for some is not very deep), I stir in some bone meal. This is
phosphorus, which promotes flowering. The problem is that phosphorus
does not readily dissolve and thus must be placed ahead of time where
roots will find it. On the other hand, bone meal in direct contact with
a bulb might cause rot even though this fertilizer is considered very
mild; so I put a small amount of plain soil above the soil that has the
bone meal to separate the bulb from the bone meal. One dose of
pre-planting bone meal should last for several years.
I also use bone meal when planting perennials. For flowering shrubs and
trees and for fruit trees, I use the more concentrated superphosphate.
Remember to leave the bulb foliage alone after the flowers have faded.
Yes, deadhead the flowers; but leave the leaves until the yellow and
die. While green, the leaves are still providing nutrients to the bulb
for next year.
David E. Ross
Climate: California Mediterranean, see
where are they planted, how much light
do they get, how much water and when, how
long is your cold season, what do you do
to them after they flower, what type of
soil, do you mulch them and any other
neighboring plants, edges or rocks?
having many hundreds of them here in
various conditions i can relate which are
doing the best.
those plants along a low north edge where
the soil is shaded by the edge but the
leaves of the plants are in full sun. the
soil is sandy loam, sloped slightly down to
the north. it is kept bare most years, but
i had beans and peas in there the past few
years (not this year). they have never been
amended or fertilized other than what comes
from the rain, the soil community and the
neighboring mowed grassy area (which contains
some clovers). the plants haven't been
divided in eight years or more and are still
blooming. we don't remove any of the leaves
until they have turned brown.
we get a fair amount of rain here so i do
not irrigate nor have i mulched these other
than what beans and peas i grew as a cover
crop. in a drier climate i would mulch them
to hold in the moisture and to keep the soil
cool. that way the plants will grow as long
as possible before dying back.
in general they need to be kept consistently
moist once they start growing again for the
following spring. if you have early fall rains
and then periods of prolonged drought then that
is not very good for them. i recall you had a
severe drought last year but i don't know how
that was in respect to their growth cycle.
also, you may want to try some earlier
blooming varieties. if your climate gets hot
and dry too quickly then the plants will abort
flowering. i have some later bloomers here
that rarely flower because they need a few more
weeks of cool weather than what we normally get.
i should move them to that cooler north facing
dividing and replanting only the largest bulbs
can help, but i rarely get to it for all of
them. most seem to not mind being crowded as
long as the rest of the conditions are ok.
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