Bulb seedlings

J.E. Shields jshields@indy.net
Mon, 12 Jun 2006 05:15:09 PDT
Hi Terrence, Mary Sue, and all,

Further on the subject of starting Amaryllids from seeds:  Many bulb 
species are easily set back if disturbed any time during their first three 
years from seed.  Mary Sue's advice is quite on target -- plant the seeds 
in larger pots so that they can be left undisturbed for up to 3 years.

I did an experiment about 8 years ago.  I had several batches of seeds of 
Haemanthus barkerae.  One batch was repotted at the end of the second 
growing season; i.e., they were a little over 1 year old.  Another batch 
was left alone for 4 growing seasons before repotting.   The early repotted 
batch have still not bloomed, while the undisturbed batch started flowering 
two years ago.

Once the bulbs get a good size and a strong root system, they profit from 
being repotted regularly.  I try to do it every two years.

For seeds of Haemanthus, I start one seed per 4-inch to 5-inch square pot; 
then don't even think of repotting for at least 3 years!   Haemanthus 
bloom, if undisturbed, in 4 or 5 years from planting seed.  If you disturb 
the seedling before that time, the first bloom can be delayed until 7, 8, 
or 9 years.  I speak from sad experience.

Hippeastrum do best if not only kept undisturbed but kept in continuous 
growth until bloom size.  They are pretty happy even when jammed together 
in a crowded seedling pot. The "Hippies" are pretty easy this 
way.  Haemanthus are trickier to keep in continuous growth; but I have lost 
more young Haemanthus seedlings, even after two growth seasons, to dry 
summer storage than to light watering and continuous growth 
conditions.  Winter-growing species are kept in growth over summer in my 
basement (air-conditioned) under fluorescent lights and are watered 
occasionally as well as fed lightly (20-20-20 or 20-10-20 at 1/4 strength).

Jim Shields
in central Indiana (USA)

Jim Shields             USDA Zone 5             Shields Gardens, Ltd.
P.O. Box 92              WWW:    http://www.shieldsgardens.com/
Westfield, Indiana 46074, USA
Tel. ++1-317-867-3344     or      toll-free 1-866-449-3344 in USA

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