Cleaning bulbs

Jane McGary
Tue, 07 Jul 2009 21:01:22 PDT
Arnold wrote,
I  think the Colchicum forms a new bulb each year next to or below the
>current bulb and the tunic from the previous year's bulb is the only
>remnant of  the reproduction process.

Colchicums have corms, not bulbs, and so this is true: the storage 
organ is renewed each year.

I usually remove the old tunics from the colchicums to free the 
offsets, which in most species can be found inside, alongside the 
larger corm. These offsets will grow faster if planted apart from the parent.

Some colchicums, however, are stoloniferous and it's rather hard to 
see how they form their offsets, because when you turn them out, they 
are just a pile of large and small worm-shaped corms that aren't 
connected one to another. They must form new ones at the end of 
annual roots that are withered by the time they're ready to lift. It 
can be hard at first to figure out how to plant this kind, but if you 
look closely, you'll see a little cone or topknot where the next 
year's leaves and flowers will eventually come up, and this goes on 
top, with the corm lengthwise on the soil.

Jane McGary
Northwestern Oregon, USA

More information about the pbs mailing list