Seedling care

Johannes-Ulrich Urban via pbs
Sat, 23 Jan 2021 08:00:40 PST
Hello Robert,

Very nice results you have! I very much agree with the other replies to your question but I would add the following: Let me first ask  in which kind of climate you live? Do you have summer rain? Do you have late frost?
It is exactly what Michael wrote: the bulbs will tell you what they want. BUT you can still influence that to a good extent. In general the onset of warm weather is a signal for winter growing bulbs to prepare for dormancy. If you leave your seedlings in a greenhouse in spring they will inevitably decide to go dormant much earlier because the greenhouse will warm up quickly in spring.
It is important to keep them green as long as ever possible and keep watering those which are still green. Green leaves produce nutrients which build up the bulbs. The bigger a seedling bulb is in its first dormancy the better is its chance for survival.  Fertilizing also helps to build up the young bulbs, I have often observed that they swell considerably just before going dormant.
If the weather conditions allow you to move the seedlings out of the greenhouse before it heats up your bulbs will stay green for much longer. Shading in their position in the garden also helps as Jane stated. I use 50 or 75 percent shade cloth.
Veltheimia seedlings will not go dormant at all. But all the other bulbs you mentioned will sooner or later, but don’t worry if they wouldn’t. I have lost seedling bulbs from drought many times but hardly ever from rot. As I garden in a hot Mediterranean climate without summer rain, I keep my dormant bulbs in full  shade but inevitably warm and give them a light watering every 4 weeks or so. Otherwise the drought in pots would be too brutal. It is a very big difference if a bulb sits in dry open ground or in a dry and warm pot. This light summer watering is not intended to break summer dormancy but to prevent dehydration.
 If you have regular summer rain in your climate I would protect them because that would be too much water during dormancy. If your greenhouse is misted every day (for humid tropical conditions?) then I would think this is too humid for dormant bulbs. If you put yourself into the position of a seedling bulb  you cannot expect a seedling Lachenalia having the same water reserves as an adult bulb or a massive Urginea monster.
I attach a picture of Lachenalia quadricolor which was sown in November 2018 and treated this way.

Bye for now 


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