summer bulb storage

Mary Sue Ittner
Fri, 29 Jun 2012 09:42:29 PDT
I finally had time to read all the suggestions about summer bulb 
storage. This list is such a good source of information based on 
experience, not just repeating what is written in books. I would like 
to comment that there seem to be some bulbs that need a period of 
warm temperatures in the summer to bloom well. This may be where the 
idea of baking came from as Jane points out. Living in northern 
coastal California I can't always provide those temperatures. And not 
only are daytime temperatures moderate, but night time temperatures 
in summer are often very cool.  People where I live don't have air 
conditioning, but they may build a fire in summer in their wood 
stoves or turn on the heat on chilly nights or early mornings. My 
greenhouse does get warmer at least during the day as does upstairs 
in my house. So I store some things in those places for the summer. 
I've been having much much more success with Nerine sarniensis 
hybrids since they got relocated to the greenhouse year round with 
occasional water in summer. I have great luck with summer rainfall 
Haemanthus and some Cyrtanthus species that live in the greenhouse, 
but poor results with a lot of winter rainfall South African 
amaryllids that are not in the greenhouse and I'm wondering if it is 
just too cool for them in summer. But I only have so much room so I 
have to make decisions about who gets to be in the greenhouse. Maybe 
Ferrarias would come up and bloom with more heat.

I always unpot my Leucocoryne and store them in paper bags upstairs 
as they don't bloom if moved to the shade and kept in pots. It's just 
not warm enough. And for years there were a number of the beautiful 
Ornithogalum dubium hybrids that I stored dry upstairs and didn't 
plant again until I saw signs of growth as frequently they didn't 
come up otherwise. I'm sure some of those people would say don't 
leave pots out of soil would be horrified, but leaving them in soil 
didn't work for me. And I always unpot my Tulipa bulbs (when large 
enough) and store them in paper bags as well and repot them in 
December after prechilling them for four to six weeks first. Many of 
the Tulipa  varieties I have grown  have been coming back well for 25 
years treated this way. And I unpot my Oxalis bulbs and store them in 
brown bags and send the excess to the BX. I try to get them repotted 
by August, but if I run out of time I just pot the ones that are 
already growing first and it doesn't seem to matter. Then when I do 
pot them up I can water them right away and not have to struggle with 
the water running around the sides of the pots in the too dry potting 
material leaving the pots still dry. (Someone on this list suggested 
watering from below and I do that on occasion, but I have too many 
pots and sometimes it takes days for them to absorb the moisture so 
this isn't really a practical solution.)  In spite of these comments, 
I agree with others as most of the things I have growing in pots  get 
moved to the shade for the summer and since I live in a climate like 
Gastil's we don't usually have rain and even if we did, it takes a 
long time for the soil to get moistened once has dried out and since 
it is rarely hot for more than a short period, I'm not dealing with 
hot humid weather that is very hard on summer dormant bulbs. The 
birds are as big a problem for me as rodents so I do sometimes try to 
cover the pots with wire which hasn't been totally successful.

So I'd echo Arnold. And say the answer probably is that it depends on 
your climate and what you are growing. Fortunately since I'm now on 
the other side of growing more, if something doesn't make it in my 
conditions it just solves the dilemma of what to eliminate. I have a 
few candidates for the BX if I can find the time to unpot them.

Mary Sue 

More information about the pbs mailing list