Flower Formation Irrigation for garden Crinum is great. Sometimes languid clumps can suddenly bloom in the month following heavy rains. Many bulbs form flower buds a long time before they are stimulated to bloom, perhaps during the prior growing season or even the one before that. So, for me, the key to good blooming has been regular watering over a long season of growth, and every season. This means that I water the plants if it hasn't rained in 5 days or a week (during hot weather); I water potted plants a lot, even if they are in 25-gallon containers. By nature, many bulbs don't perform their best in their natural environments, or they may not do so every year. They have bad years and good years, and grow and flower accordingly. Typically, if care is taken to make sure they are not pushed too hard with fertilizer, many bulbs will perform best in gardens where conditions are better than they might ever experience in nature. There can be drawbacks sometimes plants that are grown "hard" have a special look, a durability and presence that is often lacking in garden-grown plants. Also, garden-grown plants may suffer from too much fertilizer, or exposure to insects and pathogens not encountered in the wild. Additionally, plants that are pushed to grow for months on end may have lots of new growth that is sometimes fodder for nearly permanent pest infestations. For the most part, garden bulbs are a hardy lot, and are often hybrids that might not even be able to survive or reproduce in "the wild." So, I'm happy to push my flowers with water, and Crinum types seem to appreciate it (during the growing season). Some plants need a down time, a stress- or environmentally-induced (drought, short days, cold, heat, etc.) period when they shut down. They may not need such period to actually survive but may require it for flower bud formation or maturation. Many Crinum like to slow down during the winter, but that can be a problem in many gardens; sprinklers or year-round rain don't permit the type of drought that is experiences by many bulb species in the wild. For instance, Amaryllis belladonna grows easily here in my yard, but it has never flowered; I'm pretty sure it needs a pronounced summer drought. Similarly, Lycoris squamigera grows easily here; alas, it too never flowers. The leaves pop up after January and die down by June; I think it must need a period of cold to flower. The local rain lily (Z. chlorosolen) blooms reliably, but the flowers are unnaturally tall and can fall over-perhaps too much fertilizer in the flowerbed. Anyway, getting back to flower formation, I take care to water Crinum for at least six months of the year (March-September); they enjoy it. C. scabrum, C. delagoense (sthulmanii), something that seems like C. graminicola, and some others just deal with the rain as long as they have deep soils and good drainage. I try to remember to put pots of the latter 2 species on their sides for winter. Conceptually, I lump many bulbs (Crinum, Nerine, Lycoris, some Tulipia, etc.) into the same category I put succulents. The bulbs are indeed adapted for drought, but like succulents need water. The amount of water, the timing, the drainage, and so on are all variables that might be modified. For instance, I plant most cacti in pure scoria (lava rock for landscape). Then, I pour a little soil into the rock cracks (the soil is a mix of sand, perlite, and 10% humus). I never water cacti, they get far more rain than they need just by being here in the Greater Houston area. Even with a soil composed primarily of scoria, I still have to apply fungicides 2 or 3 times a year to be sure the roots don't acquire some infections. After thinking it over and getting some advice from Greg Pettit, I've decided I'll move the C. delagoense to a mixture that is composed of more sand and perlite, and far less humus. Maybe that will make them happier with year-round rain, maybe not. Back to flower formation: typical bulbs like water in the growing season; typical bulbs like good drainage. Many bulbs seem to produce flower buds a long time before we ever see the flowers and I try to help them along by giving them lots of water during the growing season. Cordially, Joe Conroe, TX Not too hot today, not a lot of rain this week. I've watered the Crinum beds twice this week, and of course, have given no water to the cacti.