basal disk and veltheimia

Paul Tyerman
Sun, 14 Nov 2004 03:11:16 PST
At 03:13  14/11/04, you wrote:
>hi all,
>while unpotting my Veltheimia, i pulled the bulb out
>of the pot and broke it off the basal disk.  so now i
>have a bulb with lots of leaves but no roots and a
>basal disk in the pot.  will either or one of them
>sprout again?


Contrary to all teachings I heave heard regarding bulbs and basal 
plates.... I did exactly the same thing a little while back and took a 
chance and planted the broken "top" of the bulb it back into a pot.  After 
noting that the leaves all stayed green and happy after 6 weeks I removed 
the bulb from the pot and found roots emerging from between scales in 2 
places on the base of the bulb.  I can guarantee that all the basal plate 
was removed (incidentally, if you plant the basal plate you should 
definitely get growth from it) so I would have thought this was 
impossible.... but it has happened.

This took place about 3 months ago.  I have now planted the bulb in a shady 
position in the garden to observe what happens.  I expect that at the very 
least the leaves are continuing to feed the bulb and it will aid in the 
formation of bulblets between the scales (similar to twin scaling, but 
without the basal plate piece) but I am waiting to find out whether the 
bulb just continues to grow and somehow recovers a basal plate.  I know 
that in other bulbs where I have done this (Crinum and Narcissus) the 
leaves have died off quite rapidly after the basal plate is removed.  Not 
quite sure why I took the chance with the veltheimia, but it is certainly 
behaving differently to anything I have seen before.  At this stage 3 
months after the removal of the plate I still have all the leaves green and 
happy, and I know at least 2 large roots are growing from between the 
scales.  This goes against what is "supposed" to happen with bulbs, but I 
can at least give you first hand experience on what CAN result from an 
accident such as yours.

I would be interested to hear how your bulb behaves with your similar 
circumstances.  According to botanical sources there should be no hope for 
growth without the basal plate (even twin-scaling requires a piece of the 
basal plate with the scales) yet in the case of my bulb it definitely 
produced roots from between the scales without there being any basal plate 
attached.  Very strange to say the least, but it will be interesting to see 
what results in the future from this.  Needless to say I will be keeping an 
eye on it to see what it does in the future.

Hopefully this experience is of some use to you.  Good luck!!


Paul Tyerman
Canberra, Australia.  USDA equivalent - Zone 8/9

Growing.... Galanthus, Erythroniums, Fritillarias, Trilliums, Cyclamen, 
Crocus, Cyrtanthus, Oxalis, Liliums, Hellebores, Aroids, Irises plus just 
about anything else that doesn't move!!!!!

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