Snowdrops - in the green NOT

Kenneth Hixson
Fri, 08 Apr 2005 10:29:19 PDT
Hi, members:
         I'd like to comment on Jim's classification:
>**Fresh Bulbs are allowed to ripen their foliage, enter dormancy and are 
>then dug and stored in a cool, dark moist state. They may be divided and 
>cleaned of most soil. Roots may/or may not dry out. Such bulbs are shipped 
>for later planting or around the garden.

         Lilies, like fritillarias, lack an outer membrane to retain 
moisture, which
is probably why they didn't become a commercial success until the invention
of plastic bags and peatmoss packaging for individual bulbs.  (Purchasers of
large lots, such as greenhouses, were more successful "in the good old days'
when the bulbs were packed in large crates which retained some moisture.)
         Lilies almost always perform better if the roots do not dry 
out.  They do
grow new roots when planted, so perhaps the presence of roots merely assures
that they've been properly handled in shipment?  It is also a mantra with lily
growers that spring planted lilies do not perform as well as the same bulb
would have if planted in the fall and allowed to establish a new root system.
It is always a race to allow the lilies to mature in the field, get them 
graded, packaged, then shipped soon enough to allow fall planting in areas
with frozen soils in winter.  Retailers/sellers often claim that lilies are 
fine when
properly stored for spring planting, but experience seems to indicate 
         Even the madonna lily seems to perform better if shipped with root
protection, and it is harvested and should be (but often isn't) shipped so
it can be planted in late summer, with plenty of time to establish a new
root system before cold soil temperatures stop development.
         "In the green" shipment certainly makes it much easier for a pest
or disease to be spread around from one area to another, not only because
the soil is still present, but the individual bulbs are not examined for the
possible presence of problems.


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