Leucojum vernum; was RE: Narcissus 'February Gold'

totototo@telus.net totototo@telus.net
Wed, 10 Jan 2007 09:33:34 PST
On 10 Jan 07, at 10:29, Jim McKenney wrote:

> ...be aware of one peculiarity of Leucojum vernum: its
> bulbs respond to drying very poorly. 
> Decades ago this species appeared infrequently in local retail nursery
> autumnal bulb displays. I tried them several years in a row, always
> with the same results: not one bulb grew.

A time-honored treatment for overly desiccated bulbs, one mentioned 
by E B Anderson in his books, is to pot up the invalids in pure sand 
and keep it barely moist. When desiccated, they are horribly prone to 
rot, so damp sand allows them to plump up in a nearly sterile 

This works even better if you have a sand-filled coldframe or plunge 
bed so that the surrounding soil can wick away excess moisture; in 
pots there is considerable risk of both excessive moisture and drying 

I've been through the same exercise with flabby L. vernum from a 
garden center. I soaked mine in water for days, just like seeds, 
changing it daily, until they'd imbibed enough water to have firmed 
up, then put them into sand and left them there for a season. IIRC 
(if I recall correctly), most of them came to life in the spring, but 
it took another season or two for them to start growing strongly 
enough to be planted out.

Rodger Whitlock
Victoria, British Columbia, Canada
Maritime Zone 8, a cool Mediterranean climate

on beautiful Vancouver Island

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