Timely Hints About Bulbs
by J. Thorpe
SPRING flowering bulbs in-doors, such as the Dutch Hyacinths,
Tulips and the many varieties of Narcissus, should
now be coming rapidly into bloom. Some care is required to
get well developed specimens. When first brought in from
cold frames or wherever they have been stored to make roots,
do not expose them either to direct sunlight or excessive heat.
A temperature of not more than fifty-five degrees at night
is warm enough for the first ten days, and afterwards, if they
show signs of vigorous growth and are required for any particular
occasion, they may be kept ten degrees warmer. It is
more important that they be not exposed to too much light
than to too much heat.
Half the short stemmed Tulips, dumpy Hyacinths and blind
Narcissus we see in the green-houses and windows of amateurs
are the result of excessive light when first brought into warm
quarters. Where it is not possible to shade bulbs without interfering
with other plants a simple and effective plan is to
make funnels of paper large enough to stand inside each pot
and six inches high. These may be left on the pots night and
day from the time the plants are brought in until the flower
spike has grown above the foliage; indeed, some of the very
finest Hyacinths cannot be had in perfection without some
such treatment. Bulbous plants should never suffer for water
when growing rapidly, yet on the other hand, they are easily
ruined if allowed to become sodden.
When in flower a rather dry and cool temperature will
preserve them the longest.
Of bulbs which flower in the summer and fall, Gloxinias and
tuberous rooted Begonias are great favorites and easily managed.
For early summer a few of each should be started at
once—using sandy, friable soil. Six-inch pots, well drained, are
large enough for the very largest bulbs, while for smaller
even three-inch pots will answer. In a green-house there is
no difficulty in finding just the place to start them. It must be
snug, rather shady and not too warm. They can be well cared
for, however, in a hot-bed or even a window, but some
experience is necessary to make a success.
Lilies, in pots, whether L. candidum or L. longiflorum that
are desired to be in flower by Easter, should now receive every
attention—their condition should be that the flower buds can
be easily felt in the leaf heads. A temperature of fifty-five to
sixty-five at night should be maintained, giving abundance of
air on bright sunny days to keep them stocky. Green fly is
very troublesome at this stage, and nothing is more certain to
destroy this pest than to dip the plants in tobacco water which,
to be effective, should be the color of strong tea. Occasional
waterings of weak liquid manure will be of considerable help
if the pots are full of roots.