A thickened part in a resting state and made up of scales or plates on a much shortened axis.
|This article contains a definition from the Glossary of Gardening Terms.|
Standard Cyclopedia of Horticulture
|Standard Cyclopedia of Horticulture|
Bulb, bulbs. A bulb is a thickened, fleshy, and commonly subterranean bud, usually emitting roots from its under side. The office of the bulb is to carry the plant over an unpropitious season, as over winter or a dry period.
True bulbs are either tunicated, formed in rings or layers, like those of hyacinths and onions (Fig. 681), or scaly, like those of some liliums (Fig. 682); but as popularly understood and in commercial parlance, the term bulbs applies to a large class of flowering and orriamental bulbous-like plants in their dormant condition, during which period they are collected, dug, stored, shipped, sold and planted, like so many potatoes. This class includes, in addition to the true bulbs, many that are botanically known as conns, which are solid, as crocus and gladiolus (Fig. 683); tubers which are succulent and have the buds or eyes near the surface, as the dahlia and potato (Fig. 684); rhizomes, fleshy, creeping underground stems like certain iris, ginger, and many wild plants (Fig. 685); pips, the flowering crowns of lily-of-the-valley; and certain other dormant fasciculated fleshy roots like those of peonies, ranunculus, and the like. A variety of bulbs is shown in Fig. 686. The true or feeding roots grow generally from the base of the bulb, the stems, flowers and foliage from the crown of the bulb, or the eyes. There is an exception to this in certain lilies, which throw out roots above the bulb also (Fig. 687). The bulb is a storehouse for the plant, wherein is formed, after flowering, new stems, leaves and flowers. In fact, the bulb contains a new plant, which is protected and sustained within the bulb by the reserve food and energy collected therein during one season for the plant's successor. After the flowering period, the plant above the bulb and the roots beneath it ripen off and die away. The bulb is then in a dormant condition. It is during this state of rest, lasting approximately from three to six months, that bulbs are taken out of the ground and transported easily and safely from continent to continent, if required; after which the incipient roots, stems, foliage and flowers may develop with as much luxuriance and perfection as if the bulb had remained in its original environment.
Bulbous flowering plants (bulbs) are very popular with flower-loving people. There is a particular charm and interest in growing them. As a rule, they produce flowers of remarkable beauty, unsurpassed by any other class of plants, and many of them are deliciously fragrant. They comprise an endless variety in habit, form, size and color, are adaptable for many purposes, and many of them flower equally well under either garden or house culture. Soon after their beauty fades they die away, or may be removed; and in the interval, their places may be occupied by other seasonable flowering plants. Not the least among the merits of bulbs is their ease of culture, and the great certainty and perfection with which their flowers are produced, under suitable conditions.
Among bulbous plants are many that are sufficiently hardy to withstand the severity of our northern winters. The kinds that are suitable are nearly all dormant in the fall, which is the proper time for planting them, and they will flower the coming season. In March or earlier, spring is ushered in with the blooming of snowdrops, chionodoxas, anemones, scillas, crocus, winter aconites, bulbocodiums and so on, followed in April with brilliant hyacinths, tulips, narcissus and hosts of others. In April appear the unapproachable late tulips, poet's daffodils, dicentras and the like, followed in succession until frost, notably with peonies, irises, hemerocallis, lilies, montbretias, tritomas and others.
Gardeners usually think of bulbs as divided into two classes,—hardy ana tender, or those that stand freezing and those that do not. There is a class from South Africa known as Cape bulbs, which usuallv bloom in the fall. There are now so many improved hybrids and breeds that are crowding out the types, that the term "Cape bulb" has lost its significance in this country. In the present article, bulbs are treated under the following general heads: Hardy spring bulbs for design bedding; hardy bulbs in the herbaceous garden, mixed flower-border or lawn; subsequent treatment of out^ door bulbs; summer- and autumn-flowering tender bulbs for spring planting; bulbs for flowering in the house and greenhouse; the forcing of bulbs; other indoor methods; subsequent treatment of forced bulbs; keeping dormant bulbs, tubers, and the like; propagation of bulbous plants; hints on buying and selecting bulbs; catalogue of bulbs.
Hardy spring-flowering bulbs for design bedding.
The only bulbs adapted to geometrical beds are Dutch hyacinths and tulips. It is not best to use both in the same bed for really fine effects. For display bedding in parks, public squares, and like places, only solid bright contrasting colors as a rule are used, since brilliancy of coloring is advisable when the taste of large crowds must be considered. This limits the selection in hyacinths to dark crimson, rose-red, pink, purple, blue, lavender, white and yellow (the latter is seldom satisfactory), and in tulips to dark blood-red, scarlet, rose, blush-pink, yellow, white, and a bluish claret, which last is seldom used. On private grounds many beautiful effects can be obtained by the use of the softer colors, particularly in beds that are situated in partial shade.
In ordering the bulbs for this style of beading, it is important to select kinds that bloom at the same time and are of uniform height; and in the case of hyacinths to choose varieties with a strong stem, for many sorts are liable to fall over from the weight of the spike and are quickly soiled when they lie on the ground. If the item of expense is to be taken into account, it is possible to use second-size bulbs of hyacinths, often listed as bedding sizes, with satisfactory results, although only fine bulbs give fine bloom.
In planting bulbs in "design beds," it pays for the extra trouble first to remove the soil to a depth of 6 inches, spade up the lower soil, using well-rotted manure and plenty of bone dust worked in. Then level off, smooth, and cover with an inch of sand. This prevents the manure from touching the bulbs, and allows the water to drain away from immediate contact with them, thus removing causes which may lead to their decay. Bulbs set in this manner on the sand may be placed in their exact position, after which the top soil is carefully replaced. It is a difficult matter to set bulbs just 4 inches deep and 4 to 6 inches apart with an ordinary trowel. The planter is almost sure occasionally to chop off a piece of a neighboring bulb or displace it. Bulbs planted in the manner advised, being all of an even depth, will flower uniformly; often, when planted with a trowel, some bulbs will be an inch too high and some an inch too low, which in early spring makes considerable difference in the time of blooming. Besides, when bulbs are planted with a trowel or dibble, there is danger of "hanging" a bulb occasionally, where it may perish on account of not touching bottom.
Hardy bulbs in the herbaceous garden, mixed flower- border, or lawn.
The mixed border is a favorite place for most hardy bulbs. They should be planted in little colonies here and there among the hardy plants and shrubs; and it is here that bulbs seem to thrive and give the most pleasure. As spring approaches, the somber winter browns and dull greens of the deciduous and evergreen plants are suddenly transformed into an unrivaled setting, studded with brilliantly colored and fragrant flowers, the contrasts being exceedingly effective and cheery; and besides, from the border one does not hesitate to cut a few flowers for the house for fear of spoiling the effect, as would be the case in formal bedding. Furthermore, bulbs seem to do better and last longer in a border because the flowers are cut freely in bud or when just approaching their prime, which is the best possible time for the benefit of the bulb, for the efforts of any bulb to form seeds weakens the bulb. A hyacinth bulb that matures seed is virtually destroyed. Then again, in an herbaceous border the bulbs are not disturbed through the necessity for replacing them with other flowering plants, as such a mixed border when properly planted should do much itself to hide the withering leaves. The foliage then remains uninjured until ripe, thus fulfilling its duty of recharging the bulb with new energy for the next season's display. Of course, after three or four years, the bulbs should be divided if they have grown and spread, and judgment must be used to determine when the lifting should be done with the least injury to the other permanent subjects in the border. It is best, perhaps, to associate with the bulbs plants that are not seriously injured by being moved.
Bold clumps of the taller bulbous plants are very effective on the lawn, where beds of one kind should be isolated, and be given a position not too prominent nor too near. The object desired is a mass of one color, which at a little distance is more striking on account of the contrast with the surrounding green grass and trees.
Among the best hardy bulbous plants for this purpose are: hemerocallis, such lilies as candidum, Henryi, tigrinum, speciosum and auratum; also dicentra, crown imperials, montbretias, tritomos, peonies, and Kaemp- fen and germanica irises.
Bulbs planted right in the sod on the lawn make a very pleasing picture when in bloom in the early spring. Make patches here and there of golden, white and purple crocus, the little chionodoxas, snowdrops, Scilla amana, winter aconite, snowflakes, bulbocodium and triteleia. These grow, increase, bloom and ripen the foliage mostly before it is necessary to use the lawn- mower, so that the surface of the lawn in summer is not marred. The bulbs may be dibbled in when the ground is moist and soft during the fall rains, but it is better to cut and turn back the sod here and there, plant the bulbs under it, then press the sod back again.
For parks, groves and wild outlying grounds beyond the closely clipped lawn, a very happy style of "naturalizing" bulbous and other plants is coming much into vogue. Such bulbs should be used as can be planted in quantity, twenty-five to a hundred or more of a kind in a patch, and only those should be used which are hardy, and will flower and thrive and increase under neglect. Fortunately, there are many bulbous plants that succeed even better in such rough places than in the prim garden. Among them are hardy anemones, camassia, convallaria, dicentras, erythroniums, funkias, certain iris, hi nuns, poet's narcissus, Von Sion and many other narcissi, trilliums, and numerous others.
In regard to the preparation of beds for hard}' bulbs, planting and treatment, one can only generalize. Detailed directions suited to the different species, and also varieties where treatment varies, will be found under their respective headings in this Cyclopedia. As a rule, well-rotted manure (mind that it is well-rotted, not fresh and heating) should be liberally applied and dug into the ground deeply. It must be where the long, feeding roots can get at it, and yet not touch the bulbs, nor be too near their base. This is easily accomplished by removing a few inches of the top soil first, as described under "Design Bedding" above. If it is impracticable to do this, then it is not advisable to use manure at all, for the bulbs are liable to come in contact with it and become diseased. Bone meal alone is then the safest fertilizer to use, and it should be applied lavishly. Most bulbs like rich food if properly applied. Although the embryo flowers were formed within the bulb the season before, yet their size, luxuriance and brilliancy this season depend largely upon the nutrition the roots receive. Liberal applications of manure water, when the bulbs are in bud, often produce excellent results.
The proper depth to plant bulbs varies according to the kinds. It is a common fault to plant them too near the surface. Some kinds, notably the Californian Humboldtii and Wash- ingtonianum lilies, do best when 10 to 12 inches deep; hyacinths, tulips, narcissi, and similar large bulbs from 4 to 6 inches deep; smaller bulbs somewhat shallower. A good rule to follow is to make the depth three times the average diameter of the bulbs. Hardy bulbs root during the fall and early winter, and if planted too near the surface the freezing, thawing and heaving of the upper crust of soil in mild winters often causes the bulbs to break from their roots, and, in consequence, only inferior flowers are produced. When good cold weather has set in and a light crust has been frozen on the soil, then cover the bed with leaves, straw, marsh hay or reeds to a depth of about 4 to 6 incUes. This protects not only from severe freezing, but from equally injurious unseasonable thaws. Do not put the covering on too early, for it might warm the soil so that the bulbs would begin to grow and afterward be injured from freezing. Gradually remove the covering in the spring.
The general run of bulbous plants thrive in a loamy soil, inclining to sand. This soil attracts moisture, allows free drainage, and admits air. If the soil is cold and stiff, a liberal admixture of leaf-mold and sand, with the addition of manure applied as previously described, will be beneficial. The texture of the soil should be such that stagnant water will not remain around the bulbs, as it tends to rot them, particularly when dormant. An excess of humus is, therefore, to be guarded against for most bulbs.
While most bulbous plants thrive under the soil conditions advised above, yet there are many exceptions. Happy should be the man on whose grounds is found a variety of soils and exposures, shade and sun. A small wooded valley or ravine, with a brook flowing through it into an open, moist meadow, affords conditions suitable for growing to perfection the greatest variety of bulbous and other plants, many of which cannot be enjoyed in the average garden. The hyacinth is a notable exception in regard to soil conditions. In Holland this bulb is grown in pure sand, and soon becomes diseased in heavier soil. This should indicate that in this country plenty of sand should be added to the natural soil, and that the bulbs should not be left in the ground during the summer. The sooner bulbs can be put in the ground after they are ripe, the better for the bulbs; for, no matter how long they will keep, they do not improve when out of the ground, but tend to dry out and lose vitality. This is particularly true of the narcissi, which give very noticeably larger flowers when the bulbs are planted early. All of the sorts having a strain of poeticus blood begin the new root-growth almost as soon as they have ripened, and are far better off if they can be in the ground early. There are, however, many reasons why bulbs cannot be planted as soon as ripe; and when they are to be kept for certain purposes, they should be stored as advised below. Hardy spring-flowering bulbs should be planted in the open ground in the fall, not earlier than six weeks before regular frosty and freezing nights are expected. Plant as much later as necessary, providing the bulbs are keeping sound, but it is not advisable to plant them earlier. Cool weather is necessary to deter top growth, which is very liable to start after four to six weeks of root development; and young, succulent top growth is apt to be injured by the succeeding freezing. In Maine. Ontario, Wisconsin, and other northern parts (about 45 degrees north latitude), such hardy bulbs as hyacinths, tulips and narcissi, may be planted in September. In New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Ohio, and so on (about 40°), plant about the middle of October. In the latitude of Richmond, Louisville, and St. Louis, the middle of November is early enough. In the latitude of Raleigh, Nashville, and south, do not plant until middle of December; and for the latter section let the selection of bulbs run to late-flowering varieties, such as Bizarre, Darwin, and late double tulips, late hyacinths, late narcissi, and the like, for they are not so likely to be caught by the occasional freezing weather in January and February. In this southern latitude, however, very early-flowering bulbs, such as Roman hyacinths, Due Van Tholl tulips, Early Polyanthus narcissi, and so on, if planted in September, are usually through blooming before freezing weather begins. South of the freezing belt, hardy spring-flowering bulbs are not very successful, as a rule, there being no sufficiently cool weather to deter top-growth and force root-action first, without which the flowers and foliage will not develop beyond such sustenance as the bulb can supply; and this sustenance is usually exhausted by the time the flower- spikes are half grown. But there are many half-hardy and tender bulbs that are more easily grown and flowered in the South than in the North.
Subsequent treatment of outdoor bulbs.
The treatment of bulbs after flowering is important when the bulbs are to be used again, for it must never be forgotten that the flowers and resources for the next season are garnered within the bulb after blooming, through the agency of the roots and foliage. Imperfectly developed and matured foliage this year means poor flowers or none at all next year; so it is best to leave the bulbs alone until the leaves have died down. The further treatment depends upon the kind of bulbs under consideration. Generally speaking, one class may be left in the ground for a number of years, while another thrives better if lifted annually and given a short period of rest out of the ground. Among this latter class must, of course, be included tender bulbs which will not survive the winter if left in the beds or borders and which should be taken up in the fall when matured. Of the hardy bulbs, hyacinths and tulips succeed best if lifted annually. Late tulips in borders may be left undisturbed for two or three years with fairly good results, but the single early kinds ought to be taken up each year.
Lifting of any bulbs should never be done before the foliage assumes a decidedly limp and brown appearance. From that time on until the root-growth begins, they may be taken up, cleaned, and stored away, or divided and replanted at once. The former method is advisable for hyacinths and tulips; the latter for most of the bulbs on the list appended hereto. When bulbs are grown commercially, this yearly lifting is essential in order to make provision for propagation by division or by offsets, as the young bulbs mature more rapidly and perfectly when separated from the parent bulb. When summer bedding-plants are to be substituted, it is sometimes necessary to remove bulbs before ripe. In such cases, the bulbs should be carefully taken up with a spade. Disturb the roots as little as possible, and do not cut or crush the leaves. Heel-in the plants in a shallow trench in some half-shady out-of-the-way place until ripe, taking pains to avoid setting them too close in the trench to secure some air-space about the tops. If the soil adheres to the roots when taken from the beds, the bulbs will be less affected by being disturbed before maturing. As soon as ripe, they should be dug up, cleaned, and stored away. A point to be kept in mind is that it is safer to lift tulips too early than too late; these bulbs should be taken up just before the stems are quite dry. By doing so the protective skin about the bulb is more likely to be retained during the time the bulbs are out of the ground. Darwin tulips have especially thin skins which frequently loosen and come off entirely if the bulbs are left too long, and then the bulbs tend to become soft, and flabby during the resting period. Narcissi should be taken up with whatever foliage has not quite withered away. Indeed, it is always wisest never to cut a leaf from choice kinds, but to make plantings of cheap kinds if leaves are wanted for cutting.
Summer- and autumn-flowering tender bulbs for spring planting.
This class (tender) includes some of our showiest garden flowers, which are almost indispensable. They are of the easiest possible culture. Planted in the spring, after danger from frost is over, in a sunny position in good rich soil, they will flower with great certainty the same season. After flowering and ripening of the foliage, they should be taken up and stored for the winter as advised under "Keeping dormant bulbs" (p. 593) until wanted next spring. Among the more important species of this class of bulbs are the undermentioned (those marked F must be kept in a semi-dormant condition in acoldframe or greenhouse): Agapanthus (F), alstremeria (F), amorphophallus, anomatheca (F), anthplyza (F), tuberous begonia, bessera, colocasia (caladium), cooperia, crinum, cypella, gladiolus, galtonia (Hya- cinthus candicans), boussingaultia (madeira vine), montbretia, nemastylis, border oxalis, ornithogalum (F), pancratium, richardia (calla), schizostylis (F), sprekelia, tigridia, tuberose, watsonia, zephyranthes.
Bulbs for flowering in the house and greenhouse.
There is no class of plants that gives more satisfaction for this purpose, with so little skill, than the various bulbs. Perhaps the most important class of all bulbs for winter-flowering and forcing are certain hardy and half-hardy kinds. They are the most easily managed of all, and need occupy no space in the window or greenhouse, excepting when in bud and bloom. Under suitable treatment, they flower with great certainty, and their flowering period may be hastened (forced) or retarded at pleasure, so as to "bring them in" for certain occasions, or to give a continuous succession of bloom. There is a great variety of kinds of bulbs to select from for this purpose (see list of species at end of this article), yet the great demand, at this writing, has centered on the following leaders, especially for forcing purposes: AUium neapolitanum, A. Hermetlii grandiflorum, Anemone fulgens, conyallaria (lily-of-the- valley), Freesia refracta alba, gladiolus "The Bride," early single-flowering Dutch hyacinths and Romans, Campernelle jonquil, Lilium candidum, L. Harrisii and L, longiflorum. Several narcissi are in demand, notably among the large trumpet varieties: Emperor, Empress, Golden Spur, Horsfieldii, and Spurius major; among the medium and small trumpets: Sir Watkin, Barrii conspicuus and Poeticus ornatus; of the doubles are Von Sion and Orange Phcenix; of the Polyanthus narcissi: Paper White grandiflora (Totus albus), and double Roman (Constantinople). Of other species of bulbs, Ontithogilum arabicum. spirea Gladstone, and single and double tulips of the early varieties are in demand. In the classes of bulbs there is often a great diversity in the fitness of the varieties for forcing. Certain sorts will be found best adapted to early forcing, others to midseason or late work, and in selecting bulbs for forcing these characteristics must be taken into consideration. Besides this general division into early and late forcing kinds, the skilled grower recognizes that each variety has its own peculiar period when it is at its best, if forced. Many tulips and narcissi are very fine if forced early and only moderately good if forced late; the converse is equally true, for often an early variety will do only indifferently well when it is used for late work. This characteristic is well studied by one of the largest forcers for the English market, who devotes whole separate houses to particular varieties of tulips, and puts in charge of each one man who knows the whims of the variety he tends. This should not, however, deter anyone from attempting to force bulbs, as success is sure to be gained if standard forcing kinds are used, and the few important rules are followed. The principles of culture for hardy bulbs for winter-flowering are the same, whether only a few are grown in pots for the window-garden, or whether they are to be forced by the thousand by the florist. The first essential is to secure the strongest bulbs. Remember that the flowers were formed within the bulbs the previous season. If one buys bulbs of narcissi containing only one flower, or hyacinths with only ten bells on a spike, the best culture possible cannot make them produce more; but good culture will develop such flowers larger and better. The next most important essential—one might say the secret of success in flowering bulbs in house or greenhouse—is perfect root-development before the tops begin to grow. To aid the uninitiated in this important matter, we will illustrate: When hardy bulbs are planted in the open ground in the northern states in the fall, the weather above them is cool or cold, the ground beneath them is warmer, and the conditions are congenial for root-action but deterrent to top-growth. This results in the perfect development of such flowers as the bulbs contain. On the other hand, when hyacinths, tulips, narcissi, and most other hardy spring-flowering bulbs are planted in fall in pur extreme southern states, they may prove disappointing, because the weather is warm, causing the flowers and foliage to begin to grow before the roots; and as soon as such sustenance as the bulb could supply has been exhausted, the plant stops growing and dwindles. When one grows bulbs under artificial conditions, one must make them produce roots first. Failure to do this is responsible for nine-tenths of the disappointments. When hardy bulbs are to be grown in pots for winter blooming in the house or conservatory, the bulbs should be potted as soon as they are procurable, between August and November. Some writers recommend that bulbs be planted in successional lots to give later and continuous flowers, but such advice is at fault, as the bulbs tend to dry out and lose vitality when kept dry too long. It is no trouble to retard the flowering of hardy bulbs in winter, as hereafter described, without keening them out of the ground.
The soil should be rich loam. Fresh manure cannot be used. Of thoroughly rotted manure, some may be pulverized and worked into the soil, but it is safer to use pure bone meal, one part to fifty of soil. If the soil is stiff and heavy, mix with it sand and leaf-mold or peat. The size of pots depends upon the kinds of bulbs. A 5-inch pot is best for a first-sized hyacinth, or large- bulbing narcissus, particularly the polyanthus type. Tulips, small narcissi, and bulbs of a similar size, while they can go individually into a 4-inch pot, are better when put three or more of one variety together in a larger pot, as the soil retains a more even temperature and moisture; and for this reason some prefer earthen bulb-pans, which come in various sizes, from 8 to 18 inches in diameter. In potting, place a little broken pottery or lumps of charcoal in the bottom for drainage, then fill the pot with soil and shake it down, but do not pack it. Neither must the bulb be pressed or screwed into the soil, else the soil will be packed under it so that when the roots start they often raise the bulb out of the pot. 'Plant the bulb just deep enough that its top will not show. Large and soft bulbs, which are liable to rot, may be set in a cushion of sand, and the bulb not covered with soil until it has taken root and become established (Fig. 688).
When planting mixed bulbs in the same pot, pan or box, care should be used in selecting different varieties that will flower at the sanie time. An early-flowering Due Van Tholl and a double Tournesol tulip would flower a month apart under the same treatment. Some varieties of hyacinths, of narcissi, and of most species of bulbs vary greatly in time of blooming, which, of course, would spoil the effect.
The forcing of bulbs.
When florists force bulbs in quantity for cut-flowers, they seldom use pots, but shallow boxes, or flats, of a size to economize bench-room. Usually these boxes are cut down from soap-boxes to a depth of 3 or 4 inches. The bulbs are planted closely in these, from an inch to 2 inches apart, according to the kind. The tops of the bulbs (excepting lilies) are kept about even with the top of the soil. Give a thorough watering to help settle the earth about the bulbs, but give no more water until growth begins, for bulbs in a dormant condition resent an excess of moisture. After the bulbs are potted, or boxed, as described, they should be placed in a cold- frame or cold-pit to root.
This is the most important detail in flowering bulbs under artificial conditions.
Cover the pots, boxes or pans with 4 inches of sand, ashes, rotted leaves, tanbark or similar substance, ana do not put the sash on until freezing weather, and even then remove the sash on pleasant days. When no coldframe or pits are available, the pots may be covered as advised in a cool cellar, provided close attention is given to be sure that the soil is maintained in a uniformly moist, but not wet condition. It is preferable however, to sink them in the open ground. Very fine flowers were obtained from hardy bulbs when treated as follows: A trench a foot deep is dug in the garden where water will not settle in it, and it is protected from the north and west cold. Three inches of coal-ashes is first placed in the trench, to allow drainage and keep the worms out. The pots are then placed on the ashes, the earth is filled in about the pots, filling the trench rounding over. When the weather gets cold enough to freeze a crust on the soil, an additional covering of about 4 inches of rough stable manure, leaves or straw, is put over. This cover must be heavy enough to keep the pots from freezing, not that this will injure the bulbs, but that it will be almost impossible to remove the pots if the covering of earth freezes solid. Care should be taken that the sides of the trench do not fall in, depositing a layer of earth over the leaves or other cover, which will freeze hard enough to make removal difficult. Often a simple cover of 8 to 10 inches of leaves directly over the pots will be most advantageous if earth has been worked in about the sides of the pots to retain moisture. No further attention is required, as every thing is congenial to perfect root-development, while the weather is cool enough to check top-growth. Some early bulbs, such as Roman hyacinths, Paper White narcissi, Due Van Tholl tulips, and the like, will root sufficiently in five or six weeks to be taken up for first flowers, which should be out by Christmas or earlier, but it is safer to allow all bulbs not less than eight weeks for rooting. A fairly sure indication that the bulbs are ready to be brought into heat is the appearance of about an inch of top growth, and of an abundance of roots through the bot torn of the boxes or through the holes in the bottom of the pots. Ever}' two weeks after the first removal of pots, or as needed, further relays of rooted bulbs may be taken out for a continuous display of bloom. When the pots of hardy bulbs have been taken up, place them in a cool greenhouse or cool, light storeroom, with temperature not over 50°. This temperature will allow the flower-stems and foliage to grow, and at the same time prevent the opening of the flowers until the stems have attained their proper height. The pots should be kept shaded for several days until the top-growth has taken on its natural green color, after which the pots may be taken to a sunny, warm window, or wherever they are wanted to flower. Bulbs treated in this manner will produce perfect spikes of flowers.
A practice often followed by florists early in the season is keeping the bulbs in the dark and in heat in order to draw out the flower stems to a proper height. This can often be accomplished by placing an inverted pot over the tops, the light coming through the hole in the bottom being sufficient to draw out the stems. If this is done, the bulbs must be watched to see that the tops are all growing evenly; should some of the bulbs get a start of the others^ the pots must be put in the light at once to avoid irregularity in flowering. For early work, this darkening, together with stronc bottom heat, will give longer foliage and stem than if the bulbs are subjected to strong light when first brought under glass. But plenty of fresh air must be afforded, and as the buds begin to show color the pots must be removed to a cooler temperature to harden the growth, and enough light given to put color in the foliage and the buds.
A good rule to keep in mind in flowering hardy bulbs is: Temperature, 40° for roots, 50° for foliage and stems, 60° for best flowers, 70° for quick development, 80° to rush bloom with loss of substance and risk of "going blind" (producing no flowers).
The exceptions to the above advice are liliums and lily-of-the-valley. The bulbs of LUium Harrisii, L. longiflorum and the various sorts of L. spcciosum, in addition to throwing out roots from the base of the bulbs, usually form roots from the new stem just above the bulb, and the plants and flowers derive much strength from these top-roots. So in potting lily bulbs, it is best to put them down so deep that there will be sufficient soil above the bulbs to entice and sustain the stem-roots. This may be done when the bulbs are potted, or 2 or 3 inches of soil may be added after growth is under way and the stem-roots have begun to work into the soil. An advantage in the latter method is that some fertilizer may be mixed with the new soil, and sustenance provided when it is most timely. In other respects treat the bulbs after potting as just advised. Winter-flowering lily-of-the-valley forms no new roots. The thick, fleshy, fibrous old roots should be trimmed at the bottom, leaving them from 2 to 3 inches long. This allows them to absorb the abundant moisture with which they should be supplied while the flowers and foliage are developing. They flower just as well in sand or moss, or anything that retains an even moisture and temperature, as they do in soil, but lily-of-the-valley for flowering in the house or greenhouse requires freezing before it can be successfully brought into flower. Without freezing, many pips will "come blind," or produce malformed spikes. So it is just as well for amateurs to plant their pips an inch or two apart in pots or bulb-pans, and plunge them in the garden, as recommended for other hardy bulbs. Florists generally freeze their pips in refrigerators, or have them placed, just as they arrive from Germany, 2,500 pips in a case, in cold storage, in a temperature of 28° to 30°.
Half-hardy bulbs for winter-flowering and forcing should be treated the same as hardy bulbs, except that after potting they should be placed for rooting where they will not freeze. Yet they can go fairly close to it and be all the better for it. In northern states, a coldframe or pit or cold greenhouse to root them in is. therefore, almost indispensable. For tender winter- and summer-flowering greenhouse bulbs, the culture varies with almost every species, and as no general instructions would suit all kinds, the reader may refer to their individual cultures given under their respective headings in this Cyclopedia. (See list of species at the end of this article.)
Other indoor methods.
The flowering of bulbs in glasses, bowls or unique pots, is always interesting. Among the most successful and interesting are hyacinth bulbs in glasses of water. Use early-flowering single varieties only. The seedsmen and dealers in bulbs supply special hyacinth glasses for the purpose. They come in various shapes, colors and decorations, and vary in price from 20 cents to $1.50 each. These are simply filled with fresh, pure water. A lump of charcoal thrown in absorbs impurities, but it is not absolutely necessary. The bulb rests in a cup-shaped receptacle on top of the glass. In filling, the water should not quite touch the bottom of the bulb. Put in a cool, dark, airy place until the roots have reached the bottom of the glass, which should be in about aix weeks. Do not place them in a close, warm closet. They must have fresh air. As the water evaporates, fill the glasses, and change the water entirely when needed to keep it sweet and clear. After rooting, place the glasses in a light store-room where the temperature averages about 50°, until the stems and foliage have developed; then remove to a warm, sunny window for flowers to open. There are other kinds that do equally well when rooted in water, providing the largest healthy bulbs are chosen. Among them are sprekelia (Jacobean lily), Trumpet narcissi Horsfieldii and Golden Spur, polyanthus narcissi Grand Monarque and Gloriosa, large bulbs of Roman hyacinths, early single tulips, and Mammoth Yellow crocus. Hyacinths have been flowered on a piece of virgin cork floating in an aquarium, a hole being cut through the cork for the roots to reach the water. The so-called "Chinese sacred lily," a variety of Polyanthus narcissus^ grows and flowers luxuriantly in bowls of water, provided they are not placed in a dry, furnace-heated room, which will cause the buds to blast before opening. Sufficient pebbles or shells should surround the bulbs to prevent them from toppling over.
Crocuses, Roman hyacinths, and lilies-of-the-valley are very pretty when nicely flowered in columnar, hedge-hog- or beehive-shaped hollow pots with holes for the reception of the bulbs. A bulb is placed in front of each hole from the inside, with the crown of the bulb looking outward. The pot is then filled with soil through the large opening in the bottom, moss being pressed in last to hold the contents in place, after which the pots are put outside for the bulbs to root, as explained for other hardy bulbs for the house.
The growing of bulbs in moss fiber; a method introduced by Robert Sydenham, of Birmingham, England, is well deserving of attention by the amateur. The great advantage of this method is that the bulbs can be grown in decorative china bowls, without drainage, while the compost is clean to handle and, as the bowls are not porous, they may be set about a room without danger of spotting the most highly polished woodwork. The compost is made up of moss or peat fiber and ground oyster-shell in the proportion of tnree parts dry moss to two parts of the shell; a little pulverized charcoal added tends to keep the material sweet. The moss must be rubbed between the hands thoroughly to break even small lumps and then mix the shell with it very carefully, after which water should be slowly added in the proportion of four quarts to each half- bushel of the mixture. When properly moistened the compost should feel quite damp but no water will be squeezed out if a small quantity is pressed tightly in the hand. A few pieces of charcoal should be placed in the bottom of the bowl to keep the fiber sweet, and the bowls should be filled to within about an inch from the rim. Cover the bulbs with an inch or so of the mixture, taking care not to pack the fiber in so doing, and place the bowls in a cellar or cool room where they can have plenty of fresh air. For about three weeks the mixture will itself provide sufficient moisture, but after that time they must be examined frequently; nothing is so essential as keeping the fiber uniformly damp to the very bottom of the bowls but there must be no water standing. If dry for but a day there is great risk of the bulbs going blind. The treatment from this point on is identical with that given for bulbs grown in ordinary potting soil.
Subsequent treatment of forced bulbs.
After being forced or flowered in the greenhouse or window, hardy bulbs are of little value, for most bulbs suitable for the purpose have attained their maximum size, and, in consequence, are ready to break up. Florists usually throw these bulbs away. However, if space can be spared for the bulbs to complete their growth after flowering, and watering and temperatures are watched, many of them can be matured to be utilized afterwards. The ripening of the foliage is as necessary to forced bulbs as it is to those grown in the open, and to promote this the potted bulbs should receive enough care and nourishment to counteract the artificial conditions under which they are grown. When it is desired to keep forced bulbs, the compost should be made somewhat richer at potting time. After flowering, the pots may be plunged out-of-doors, if freezing weather is over, until the foliage has ripened. Then the bulbs can be shaken out and planted in the mixed border or about the kitchen-garden, where some of them will recuperate and give flowers for cutting within a year or two, and eventually they will regain their vigor sufficiently to be transferred to the bull>garden. Yet with most of the bulbs the labor involved is scarcely commensurate with the returns, and the bulbs might just as well be discarded at the beginning.
Keeping dormant bulbs, tubers, and the like.
Bulbs and tubers of the various species, as well as their varieties, vary greatly in size. Some, like oxalis, snowdrops, and chlonodoxas, often do not exceed half an inch in diameter, while other bulbs, such as those of Caladium escidenlum, certain arums and crinums, attain great size, frequently weighing several pounds each. Such solid bulbs as those of tulips, hyacinths and narcissi, will remain out of the ground solid and plump, in a suitable place, for three or four months. The larger the bulb the longer it will keep, as a rule. Large crinum bulbs have been kept for fifteen months. Still, it is always better to plant the bulbs as soon as possible, for, although they keep, they do not improve, and their tendency is always toward drying out and loss of vitality.
Never keep bulbs packed air-tight. They are liable to generate heat or sweat, mold or rot, or to start. When solid bulbs are to be kept dormant for any length of time, they should be stored away from bright light in baskets, shallow boxes or slatted trays, protected from rats or mice, in a room or cellar in which there is a circulation of fresh air and the temperature is as cool as possible. Forty degrees is the desideratum for all excepting tender bulbs. Scale-like bulbs, as liliums, soon dry put and shrivel, if exposed to the air for any length of time; therefore, they are best kept in open boxes packed with some substance that will retain a slight and even moisture, such as sphagnum moss, rotted leaf- mold, coconut fiber refuse, or moist sand, but they must be kept cold to check any efforts to start. Fleshy roots, like those of peonies, and so on, should be treated like the lily bulbs. When a cold-storage room, with an average temperature of 36° to 40°, is available, it is the safest place to carry over hardy bulbs and roots for spring planting.
Lily-of-the-valley pips are carried in cold storage rooms of about 28 to 30°. The pips and packing freeze solid; and here they are kept for months until wanted for forcing. When they are removed, they must be thawed out gradually and as soon as possible, by plunging in cold water, before they are subjected to any heat; otherwise, they are likely to rot. For this reason, "cold-storage pips cannot be safely shipped any distance in warm weather, this often being the cause of the country florists' disappointment in results.
Tender dormant bulbs, as begonias, gloxinias, amaryllis, pancratiums, tigridias, tuberoses, must be kept in a warm, dry atmosphere, not below 50°. The cause of tuberoses not flowering is often that the bulbs have been kept below 40°, which destroys the flower germ, although the foliage grows just as vigorously. Tender tubers, such as dahlias and cannas, should be stored in dry sand in a warm, dry cellar or under the greenhouse bench.
Propagation of bulbous plants.
Bulbous plants increase usually in either of two natural ways—from division or from seed. Increase by division, with true bulbs and corms, is due, in the first place, to the tendency these plants have after reaching a certain age to break up into a number of smaller parts, each part making a new start for itself and developing with time into a bulb of flowering size. In addition to this breaking up, all bulbs, even those of young growth, form tiny bulbels or offsets, throughout their time of maturing. These bulbels appear in many ways, some forming outside of the protecting skin of the mother bulb, as in the case of the tulip and hyacinth, others developing about the base of a newly-formed corm like the gladiolus. In this connection it is proper to note that the formation of bulbs during the growing season varies in that some kinds form an entirely new bulb, as the tulip and gladiolus, and others merely add new tissues to the old bulb and increase in size, as the narcissus and hyacinth. As a rule, small bulbs obtained by this process of breaking up do not have the vigor of those from offsets; the younger a bulb is, the greater vigor it always has, although the flower may not show its true size.
Whereas bulbs secured by division always come true, —that is, the flowers resemble that of the parent bulb, allowing for the occasional variation due to ' 'sporting— propagation by seed is likely to give new varieties, differing in character from the original. Certain kinds of bulbs, such as the scilla, chionodoxa, or freesia, can be propagated by seed and come true, unless cross-fertilized. Bulbs grown from seed take longer to mature than do those from offsets, and for commercial purposes the seed method is seldom employed except when the raising of novelties is an object.
Of the other so-called bulbous plants which are under consideration here, the tuberous kinds increase naturally by the development of new eyes which grow into young plants as the old tuber decays, while the rhizoma- tous sorts form new plants through the elongation and branching of the running underground stems accompanied by the dying back of the older parts. Artificial propagation of these kinds is an easier affair than with true bulbs, as the separation of the new growth is readily effected by division with a knife, or even with the rougher use of a spade. Such tubers as potatoes, begonias and gloxinias can be cut into small parts wherever an eye has started, and these planted out separately grow into new plants. With certain kinds it is a frequent practice to dust over the tubers where the cut has been made with sulfur or soot to prevent decay. Caution must be used in following this method, as too frequent division of this sort results in weakening the vigor of the stock to be grown. Several tubers, such as the dahlia and begonia, can be propagated either by stem or leaf cuttings taken from the young growth.
Artificial propagation of the hyacinth by cutting the old bulb is the method employed in Holland, while many liliums are increased by loosening the outer bulb scales and inserting them in sand after the manner of cuttings. Certain bulbs like the tulip, as grown in Holland, are subjected to heat after lifting, to ripen the bulbs more thoroughly. Bulbs to be used for propagating are given a higher temperature, which arrests the flowering and tends to increase the breaking up of the mother bulbs. For epecial methods of propagating, the reader should consult the articles on the various bulbs throughout this Cyclopedia.
The cultural treatment for the young bulbs is in general the same as that prescribed for the older, larger ones. The offsets need not, of course, be planted so far apart, the very smallest being simply scattered in drills as peas or beans are sown. At first the soil should be somewhat lighter than later on, and must always be kept free from weeds and well cultivated. The young bulbs should be planted early, and when annual lifting is practised they should be the first to come out of the ground.
From an economic point of view it is doubtful whether the so-called Dutch bulbs can be successfully propagated and grown in America. The extremely low cost of labor, and the rapid increase of stocks in the soil and climate of Holland, together with the fact that the secret of ripening the bulbs to perfection is known thoroughly only by the Dutch, makes it improbable that bulbs can be grown as well, or with a reasonable profit, here in America.
Hints on buying and selecting bulbs.
As already said, bulbs can develop only the flowers which were formed within them before they were ripened. A bulb may be poor because not full-grown or too young, or because grown in impoverished soil or under uncongenial conditions, or because it may not have been matured when dug; or it may be injured from heating, sweating, rotting or moldiness in storage or transit, caused by improper curing or packing, or it may be dried out from having been out of the ground too long. In the majority of cases in which poor bulbs are planted, however, it is the buyer's fault in procuring cheap bulbs, which in many cases are second grades, lacking age and proper size. The commoner varieties of a species usually propagate the fastest, and it is generally these less salable varieties and inferior seedlings and cull- ings from the named bulbs that go to make up most "mixed colors" and "mixed varieties." Therefore, for best results, it is advisable to expend a given amount of money for the first-size named varieties, rather than for a larger quantity of cheaper seconds and mixtures, unless, of course, the bulbs are wanted for large permanent plantings, as in promiscuous borders for naturalizing, in which best flowers the first season are of secondary consideration.
The best named hyacinths—"top roots," as they are called in Holland—require from four to six years to attain full size and give best flowers. Such bulbs, according to the variety, should measure from 20 to 24 centimeters (8 to 10 inches) in circumference. These naturally cost more to grow than the younger second or "bedding" grade of bulbs, measuring from 18 to 20 centimeters (6 to 8 inches). There is a third size, ranging from 16 to 18 centimeters (4 to 6 inches), that goes in mixtures, and a fourth size (12 to 14 centimeters) that goes out as "Dutch Romans," "Pan Hyacinths," "Miniatures," and so on. Some growers even scale their sizes a centimeter or two less than mentioned, to enable them to quote lower prices. Crocus, narcissi, tulips and many other bulbs are also sorted into sizes, enabling the growers to catch all classes of buyers.
A first-size crocus bulb should measure 10 centimeters (4 inches) in circumference, and such bulbs produce from six to twelve flowers each. A small, cheap bulb produces onjy two or three flowers. A narcissus bulb of maximum size will produce from three to five flowers (sometimes more), and an inferior size usually but a single flower. A white Roman hyacinth bulb 14- to 16- centimeter size (5 to 6 inches in circumference) will produce three and often four spikes of firsts and several seconds, while an 11- to 12-centimeter size will average only one first-grade spike and a couple of seconds, or perhaps nothing but seconds. The best lily-of-the- valley pips bear from twelve to sixteen bells on a spike, usually all firsts. Cheaper inferior grades of pips have seldom more than seven to ten bells. If the florist or planter wants the best bulbs, he must pay more money for them, but they are cheapest in the end, for second- grade stock takes up just as much room and requires as much care, fire, and other expenses. It is the grade of flowers called firsts that sell and pay a profit. The supply of seconds is often so abundant that the market price for them does not pay the cost of the bulbs.
Mere size alone should never be taken as the standard in judging bulbs, however, as in this respect there is always a great difference among varieties of the same kind of bulb. A plump, solid bulb, without any suspicion of flabbiness, will give far better blooms than one without these qualities, but if size goes with them the purchaser will he just so much better satisfied. Furthermore, the selection of varieties is of importance since in recent years a great many vastly improved varieties in all classes of bulbs have been introduced. The growers, nevertheless, because of the demand for the older sorts, of which they have large stocks, continue to list many kinds no longer worth growing, unless cheap bulbs are wanted. Attention ought also to be paid to the fact that a number of varieties appear in the lists under different names, a feature of the bulb trade which often leads to great confusion although the reliable dealers usually note synonymous names in such cases. Cheap bulbs may often be secured through the auction sales in fairly good quality, but it is utterly impossible to count upon these being true to name, or even to color. The surest way to obtain first-class bulbs is always to purchase from a trustworthy source, and to state clearly, when buying, the exact purposes for which the bulbs are intended and the amount which the buyer desires to spend.
Catalogue of bulbs.
To aid in the selection of bulbs for particular purposes, is appended a list of the leading species that are procurable while dormant (between the months specified) from seedsmen and bulb dealers, and a sign is affixed to each to indicate the purpose for which the species—or certain varieties in it—are adapted. Some kinds are useful for more than one purpose, and such have a corresponding number of signs. For example: If a selection of bulbs is to be made for winter-flowering in the house, make a note of those to which an asterisk (*) is affixed, then turn to their respective headings in this Cyclopedia, where will be found other advice and descriptions; read all cultural instructions carefully, and consult good growers and reliable dealers for the most recent varieties in any species, remembering that new varieties frequently appear.
For winter-flowering bulbs for greenhouse or window, select from species marked *.
For summer- and fall-flowering bulbs for pott for greenhouse and other decoration, select from species marked f.
For spring-flowering hardy bulbs for gardens, lawns, and the like, select from species marked +.
For summer- and fall-flowering hardy bulbs for gardens, lawns, and the like, select from species marked .
For summer- and fall-flowering (not hardy) bulbs for spring planting in garden, and the like, select from species marked ġ.
For climbing bulbous plants, select from species marked ¶.
Those marked H are hardy; Hh, half-hardy; T, tender.
Genera, etc. Hardiness. Dormant.
Abobra Hh Oct. to Apr.
Achimeneat T Oct. to Apr.
Agapanthus Hh Oct. to Apr.
Albucat T Oct. to Apr.
Alliurn H & Hh Aug. to Dec.
Alstroemeria HH Sept. to Nov.
Amaryllis T Oct. to Apr.
Amorphophallus T Oct. to Apr.
Anemone H & Hh Aug. to Nov.
Anomatheca HR Oct. to Apr.
Antholyza HH Oct. to Apr.
Apios H Oct. to Apr.
Ariswma Hh Oct. to Apr.
Arum T Aug. to Apr.
Babiana HH Aug. to Not.
Begonia,Tuberous T Oct. to Apr.
Bessera HH Oct. to Apr.
Blandfordia T Aug. to Nov.
Bloomeria H Aug. to Nov.
Bomarca HH Aug. to Oct.
Boussingaultia T Oct. to Apr.
Bowiea HH Oct. to March
Bravoa Hh Oct. to Apr.
Brodiea HH Aug. to Oct.
Bulbocodium H Aug. to Oct.
Caladium T Oct. to Apr.
Calochortus HH Aug. to Nov.
Camaasia H Aug. to Nov.
Canna T Oct. to Apr.
Chionodoxa H Aug. to Oct.
Chlidanthus HH Oct. to Apr.
Colchicum H Aug. to Sept.
Commelina HH Oct. to Apr.
Convallaria H Oct. to Apr.
Cooperia HH Oct. to Apr.
Corydalia H Aug. to Apr.
Crinum H Nov. to Apr.
Crocosmia HH Oct. to Apr.
Crocus H Aug. to Oct.
Crown Imperial H Aug. to Oct.
Cummingia T Aug. to Oct.
Cyanella HH Aug. to Oct.
Cyclamen persicum T Aug. to Nov.
Cyclobothra HH Aug. to Nov.
Cypella T Oct. to Dec.
Cyrtanthus T Oct. to Apr.
Dahlia T Oct. to Apr.
Dicentra H Oct. to March
Dioscoreaf H Oct. to Apr.
Eranthis H Aug. to Oct.
Eremurua HH Oct. to Apr.
Erythronium H Aug. to Nov.
Eucharias T Sept. to Dec.
Euryclea T Oct. to March
Freesia HH Aug. to Nov.
Fritillaria HH&h Aug. to Oct.
Galanthus H Aug. to Nov.
Galtonia HH Oct. to Apr.
Geissorhiza HH Aug. to Nov.
Gesneria T Oct. to Apr.
Gladiolus HH Sept. to Apr.
Gloriosa T Oct. to Apr.
Gloxinia T Oct. to Apr.
Grlffinia T Oct. to Apr.
Haemanthust T Aug. to Nov.
Helleborus H Oct. to Apr.
Hemerocallia H Oct. to Apr.
Homeria HH Aug. to Nov.
Hyacinth H Aug. to Nov.
Hymenocallis T Oct. to Apr.
Imantophyllum T Oct. to Apr.
Iris, Bulbous H&HH Aug. to N ov.
Iris, Rhizomatous, etc. H Oct. to Apr.
Ismene T Oct. to Apr.
Ixia HH Aug. to Nov.
Ixiolirion H Aug. to Nov.
Jonquil H Aug. to Oct.
Lachenalia HH Aug. to Oct.
Leucojum H Aug. to Oct.
Lilium H Sept. to Apr.
Lycoris HH Oct. to Apr.
Milla HH Oct. to Apr.
Montbrctia HH Oct. to Apr.
Muscaria H Aug. to Nov.
Naegelia T Oct. to Apr.
Narcissus H Aug. to Oct.
Nemastylus T Oct. to Apr.
Nerine T Aug. to Nov.
Ornithogalum H&HH Aug. to Nov.
Oxalis, for borders HH Sept. to Apr.
Oxalis,Winter-flowering HH Aug. to Nov.
Peony H Oct. to Apr.
Pancratium T Oct. to Apr.
Phaedranassa T Oct. to Apr.
Polygonatum H Oct. to Apr.
Puschkinia H Aug. to Oct.
Ranunculus HH Aug. to Nov.
Richardia T Sept. to Dec.
Rigidella T Oct. to Apr.
Sanguinaria H Oct. to Apr.
Schiiostylis HH Oct. to Apr.
Scilla H&Hh Aug. to Nov.
Sparaxia HH Aug. to Nov.
Spiraea (Aetilbe) H Oct. to Apr.
Sprekelia T Sept. to Apr.
Sternbergia H Aug. to Oct.
Tecophiltaea HH Aug. to Oct.
Tigridia T Oct. to Apr.
Trillium H Oct. to March
Tritoleia HH Oct. to Apr.
Tritoma H Oct. to Apr.
Tritonia HH Aug. to Nov.
Tropteolum. Tuberous HH Aug. to Dec
Tuberose T Nov. to May
Tulip H Aug. to Nov.
Tydaea T Oct. to Apr.
Urceolina T Oct. to Apr.
Vallota T Oct. to Apr.
Watsonia HH Sept. to Dec.
Zephyranthes HH Aug. to Apr.