fertilizing bulbs

Rand Nicholson writserv@nbnet.nb.ca
Thu, 07 Apr 2005 15:31:26 PDT
Hi All;

From experience, I wholeheartedly agree with what Ken has said, although I must confess to only a vague notion as to what a plant is doing with nutrients and when. Like many of us, much of my experience comes through, sometimes painstaking, trial and error, or the kindnesses of others. Having said that: what do experienced Lachenalia growers do with their plants regarding culture?

By the way, this one spends spring, summer and fall out doors and is well acquainted with frost. I am certain it could not take a true hard Canadian frost, but it has survived unexpected hoar frosts without major damage, retaining a significant portion of its leaves. It still has two from last year, splitting up the middle as the bulb expands.

Although any notes were lost in my rather hurried move last March, for some reason I keep thinking that this bulb was on a South African schedule and one of the reasons that I lost the other bulbs was through my efforts to "switch" them to a North American season - something which it looks like I have achieved (if, indeed, that is what I was attempting to do).


>Hi, members
>        Fertilizing any plant is a complicated matter--your soil, its pH,
>what minerals are present, the mineral needs of the particular plant you
>are growing, moisture levels in the soil,  temperature,  the stage of growth
>of the plant, etc. all interacting.
>>  No foliage, no fertilizer.  I have applied any good organic
>>fertilizer just when the new leaves start to nose out of the ground.
>        If what you are doing works, continue.  But remember when
>fertilizing bulbs, you are feeding the bulb, and the effect will be shown
>in next year's plant, with only minor effects on this year's plant.  All
>the minerals for this year's plant are already in the bulb.  There are
>numerous studies of which minerals are taken up by bulbs, and at
>what times.  It is very easy to be mislead, because the mineral levels
>in the upper leaves of an easter lily for instance, will be different than
>the mineral levels in the lower, older leaves on the same stems.  And,
>as the season draws to a close, minerals are translocated out of the
>leaves down to the bulb. An excess of one mineral may cause another
>needed mineral to become unavailable, and this can change with the pH.
>        Different species or hybrids, even in the genus Lilium for instance,
>use minerals at different times, and "one size fits all" does not apply.
>Species which grow their roots at a different season than their foliage,
>have nutrient needs at a time you may not expect.
>        When using organic fertilizers, it should be remembered that
>their nutrient content is released more slowly, as the fertilizer is
>decomposed by soil microorganisms, so applying the fertilizer needs
>to be done far enough in advance that the decomposition can be
>accomplished before the minerals are needed by the plant.....then you
>need to be sure it won't be taken up by some other plant or otherwise
>tied up, before the targeted plant can use it.
>        What I'm really saying is, I can tell you what works for me, but
>it may not work for you, growing the same plant under other conditions,
>and you may be just polluting the ground to apply a fertilizer when the
>plant can't use it.  Comments from elsewhere need to be regarded as
>a guide, not a "cookbook" that can be blindly followed.
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