A. belladonna experiment

AW awilson@avonia.com
Wed, 14 Aug 2013 21:14:55 PDT
Blooms have been sparse here this year for belladonnas. I did an experiment
to see what may be responsible.

The blooming season began here about a month ago. All clumps are planted in
the ground where they have been undisturbed for years. Seeing the reduction
in number of blooms for a second year in a row I decided to try an
experiment by waterng a clump that had been dry since April. Within three
days the flowerheads appeared through the coarse gravel and less than five
days later they were in full bloom! Pure coincidence, you say. They would
have come up anyway. No, unwatered clumps nearby are still without a bloom.
So, I repeated the experiment elsewhere in the garden. The same result
ensued, no matter whether the respective clumps (20 -30 bulbs per clump)
were in sun or in shade. Several clumps have bloomed, somewhat sparsely,
wihout this watering. However those clumps had received water by being
planted in the few areas that do get regular summer watering. 

The conclusion I draw is that the watering was the trigger. What I cannot
yet conclude is whether it was the water moisture that was taken up by the
bulbs or the water cooling of the soil that was responsible. Such tests will
have to wait until next year. 

I am not saying that this behavior is to be expected everywhere. Here's why.
San Diego has had two successive dry winters. When winters are wet blooming
is invariably denser than it has been this year and the plants bloom
plentifully without the need for any encouragement. I suspect that is the
situation most years in areas further north of here where winters are
wetter. In the past two years the large clumps here are still without
blooms. Maybe some late blooms will appear but I do not feel confident that
will happen. All clumps to have shown bloom either received water by their
locations being close to watered plants or were triggered by my selected
waterings. While watering triggred the bloom, the resulting display is less
impressive than it is after a wet winter.

San Diego


More information about the pbs mailing list