When to plant

Mary Sue Ittner msittner@mcn.org
Tue, 10 Jul 2012 16:12:26 PDT
Early on it was suggested that items for the BX be labeled as summer 
growing, winter growing or evergreen. People don't always give that 
information to Dell and he can't be expected to look it up. It's 
helpful to check yourself if that information is not listed in the BX 
offerings as that will help you sort out whether you need to pot right away.

A lot of us who live in climates like yours Elaine have found that 
potting Oxalis in August and watering then, especially for the fall 
bloomers is helpful. Getting them started later can mean they won't bloom.

Since the Bay Area often has its warmest temperatures in September 
and October, another guide is not to water winter growers on days 
that it is warm but wait until it is foggy and/or cool in those 
months. I generally let the weather influence when I start to water 
native bulbs and some from Chile that emerge later, but water South 
African bulbs earlier. If what you receive from the BX is small (some 
of us give bulblets or cormlets), having some material around them to 
keep them from drying out is helpful. Larger items do well in paper 
bags in our cooler summer temperatures. Paper is better than plastic 
so items can breathe. And if you don't plant them right away look at 
them from time to time and if you see signs of activity (roots, 
shoots), pot them up immediately.

One size does not fit all. And  a lot of us have learned from 
experience that what someone else suggests may or may not work in our 
situation. I expect you'll get different answers and learn what is 
best for you. One year I couldn't find one of my paper bags of tulip 
bulbs that I store dry until I prechill them late October. I looked 
everywhere, but no luck. The following year I found them so they had 
remained in a paper bag for 1 1/2 years. Some of the smaller ones 
looked like they were goners, but some of the bigger ones looked 
possible. I thought I had nothing to lose so I potted them up at the 
same time I potted the rest of my tulips. They didn't bloom that 
year, but did put up leaves and bloomed the following year.  I was 
glad I didn't chuck them out.

I might also suggest that you consult the wiki. Mike Mace gathered 
together some excellent guides on growing bulbs from others and from 
his own experience.

Mary Sue

Mary Sue Ittner
California's North Coast
Wet mild winters with occasional frost
Dry mild summers 

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