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Midland Diary Discussion: 11 August 2009

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Started by: Diane Clement

Midland Diary No 16 - Repotting starts and Seed collecting continues

Go to latest contribution by Elizabeth Maddock, 21 August 2009, 21:22. Go to bottom of this page.

Contribution from Diane Clement 11 August 2009, 12:01top / bottom of page

I?ve just started my annual repotting of bulbs and cyclamen. See some of the results in my new diary entry here:

Please add any comments in this discussion thread. Thanks!

Contribution from David Nicholson 11 August 2009, 20:42top / bottom of page

Intersting and very useful as usual Diane. I'm now getting worried as I have some pink Cyclamen hederifolium in flower but haven't seen the white forms yet!! Down to my last 20 pots in the re-potting stakes now!

Contribution from Colin Dolding 12 August 2009, 00:24top / bottom of page

Many thanks Diane for more reminders of the things I have still to do! Just about finished Galanthus so far. On to Cyclamen next week if it is not too late.

My white Cyclamen hed. is always 2 weeks ahead of pink forms apart from this year! Pink first by 6 days this year! So do not get too worried David.

Great to see someone saving some seed for the exchanges. Every little helps!

Contribution from Elizabeth Maddock 14 August 2009, 22:28top / bottom of page
Repotting time

Thanks Diane for reminding me to start repotting bulbs. I have been working throough my Primulas and did the Cyclamen a while ago. Yours was a timely reminder to get going on the bulbs.

What do I do about South African bulbs that grow in winter and are only small seedlings at the moment? Do I pot them on or leave them to die down or what?

Contribution from Denise Bridges 17 August 2009, 17:00top / bottom of page

Really interesting to read your blog, as always Diane. I pick up so many tips.

I have started repotting, and wish I could be as regimented as yourself. I just 'do' what's nearest to hand in the greenhouse.

I've actually repotted most of my C. purpurascens too, that are actually in flower, which would probably be frowned upon by many, but I have to say they've come on in leaps and bounds since being 'refreshed'

I'm dreading looking at the Narcissus and Galanthus pots, as last year I lost an awful lot to Narcissus Fly. Do you think any affected this year would be obvious by now?

Thanks again for the information Diane.

Contribution from Diane Clement 20 August 2009, 12:06top / bottom of page
South African bulb seedlings

Hi Liz

Sorry for delay in replying, I?m still busy with repotting!

With regard to South African bulbs, some people report of problems with Southern hemisphere bulbs if they are imported and have to change seasons, but that shouldn?t be a problem with seedlings. If they are grown from seed, then I assume they germinate when the conditions are right and grow on from there.

As far as bulb seedlings in general are concerned, I wouldn?t repot any until after two years of growth, because they are better undisturbed whilst small, and also there might be ungerminated seeds in there that may come up in the second year. I often find with young seedlings (including bulbs, cyclamen, and others) that they will carry on in growth for longer than the mature plants and will not die down, that is good because they will make a larger bulb/tuber or whatever.

South African winter growers usually come from the west of south Africa, with basically a Mediterranean climate - wet autumn and spring, then a dry summer. The problems in growing them in our climate are they are likely to be too wet in the winter, and there could be a problem with hardiness with some. When I tried in the past to grow some in the alpine house, I found that they struggled during the coldest periods, and often made very little growth in a season. So I have had more success with South African and South American bulbs by growing them just frost free, water them in the autumn, which brings them into growth in the autumn and they will continue to grow on through the winter and spring, giving the longest possible growing season. However, I still find that some are very slow to come into flower and five or six years later I am still waiting for flowers! What species are you growing?

Narcissus fly

Hi Denise

It is difficult to decide when to repot Cyclamen purpurascens, as they are never really dormant. I often find I am taking off the previous years seeds when the present years flowers are opening.   


Luckily, I have never had problems with Narcissus fly. I don’t know why? I think they will be obvious when you tip them out! I have heard that the fly gets in through the hole left by the flower stem, so one advice is to remove those stems after flowering and fill in the hole with dry sand.

I have now repotted all my Galanthus and Narcissus and I am very pleased with the results, many have bulked up well, and very few losses. Crocus are another story, I just can’t get them right and many of they seem to have dwindled in number or size.

Contribution from Elizabeth Maddock 21 August 2009, 21:22top / bottom of page
Southern Hemisphere bulbs

Hi Diane, I decided to go for repotting all of my bulb seedlings, most were dated January 2007. Loads of Moreas came up, judging by the size a lot came up a year after the first lot. A few Babianas, looking quite strong. The Zephranthes from South America, they had come up quite well. Them some Hippeastrums, also sown January 2007, they were massive but still a long way to go.

I have kept all these outside in spring and summer and tried not to let them dry out until they were clearly finished growing. In winter I have kept them in a greenhouse which rarely goes below freezing and have kept them ticking over with enough water to stop them drying out. I have been pleased and surprised at the results. Particularly with the Moreas, most of the seed seems to have germinated. The Babianas I am really pleased with but it looks as though it will be a while before I see any flower.

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