Bulb seedlings

Jane McGary janemcgary@earthlink.net
Sun, 11 Jun 2006 19:22:20 PDT
Terence asked,

guess my biggest concern is the summer dormant species. They [seedlings] 
are growing
>along well. The summer heat is arriving and the parents are resting. Are the
>seedlings being kept artificially growing? Should water be withheld as in
>nature? They seem so fragile that withholding water at this time seems to be
>certain death.

I don't know of any "comprehensive" sources of bulb seedling care, but when 
I helped edit John Bryan's second edition of "Bulbs," I tried to 
incorporate some practical knowledge of growing bulbs from seeds in the 
entries for genera I grow.

It is indeed tricky to decide when to stop watering bulb seedlings, but I 
seem to be able to bring them along by removing them from the irrigated 
seedling area when they turn yellow and moving them to a cool, shady site 
where they are not watered but are kept covered with overturned flats. When 
I'm finished repotting the mature bulbs in my collection in late July, I 
pot up the seedling bulbs, except for Crocus and some Calochortus which I 
leave in the seed pots for a second year, and plunge them in the bulb 
frame. I start watering the seedlings with the onset of fall rains here, 
which is usually about mid-September. It's important not to let them dry 
out too much, though. If you live in a hot area, it would be good to cover 
their pots with something like Reemay to reduce evaporation, and be sure to 
keep them in the shade.

Jane McGary
Northwestern Oregon, USA

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