how many plants per pot

Jane McGary
Mon, 06 Apr 2009 15:19:49 PDT
Crowded potting is frequently recommended, particularly by 
British/Scottish growers who intend to produce "show pots." I don't 
crowd mine so much because I have a fair amount of room for extra 
pots, and I can control the moisture. One danger of crowding a pot is 
that some of the bulbs will clog the drain holes.

If you look at bulbs growing in the wild, they are usually not in 
dense clusters. This is true even of species that form dense clusters 
in cultivation, and presumably reflects the lower nutrition they get 
in nature. (And predation, perhaps, don't get me started on that!)

On the other hand, I do grow a few things that seem not to flourish 
unless crowded, and Acis trichophylla comes to mind.

If you spread out "rice-grain" fritillaria bulbs, they will often 
devote their energy to making single leaves from the bulblets. When 
you have rabbits and voles biting off all the flower stems and 
dragging them away, at least you have some promising leaves to look at ....

Jane McGary
Northwestern Oregon, USA

At 11:56 AM 4/6/2009, you wrote:
>At the NARGS winter study meeting in his lecture Ian Young advocated
>planting bulbs quite thickly, saying they love company. He showed pictures
>of I think it was Crocus and Narcissus that were planted almost touching in
>the pot.
>This leads me to ask the question about which genera or species like to be
>crowded and which do not. Sometimes when I repot the plants are so crowded,
>I can't imagine how they all fit in the pot and how there can be enough
>nutrients or soil to sustain so many plants. I'd always heard that when
>they stop blooming it may be time to divide. And it would seem to me that
>if some species were planted too densely there could be a problem with
>disease for those of us who live in areas with excessive humidity over a
>long period. With Massonia and some Haemanthus with long leaves that are
>prostrate, the leaves of some of the plants sometimes get covered over with
>leaves of some of the others and then it is difficult for the blooms to show.

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