CROWN IMPERIAL BULBS IN YELLOW,ORANGE-RED AND RED
The crown imperial bulbs are defintely impressive when in bloom. These plants can be somewhat difficult to raise and I have experienced the disappearance of this plant in the Spring but certainly not from chipmunks or squirrels. These bulbs have a very unpleasant scent and therefore would not attract the ususal rodent to a large meal. I think there are several reasons why I had this unfavorable experience with imperial bulbs.
I may not have planted crown imperial bulbs immediately upon their arrival at my door step. This really is a necessary step because the roots begin their growing stage in the package and this can result in injury during planting.
The soil you plant this bulb in must be very quick in drainage. If the soil you are contemplating to receive this plant is in anyway heavy,you will need additional sand. I would mix two large garden scoops into the soil and then dig your 6" hole for bulb placement. Later I planted some crown bulbs thinking about these particular points and I was rewarded with some beautiful yellow flowers in the spring.If you treat these bulbs correctly and especially in zones 4-6, you will be richly rewarded.
One thing I must caution you about do not attempt to move these flowers to another location. I attempted to do this once upon a time. I had planted them beneath a decorative small pine and,of course, the plants were too tall and did not produce as well as expected. So,in my infinite wisdom,I moved the bulbs never to see a flower bloom just the stem.
It is also a good idea to stake these plants when just about to bloom. Depending on where the crown imperial bulbs are planted in your garden,they have a tendency to be top heavy. If they droop or fall,the stems are just not strong enough to hold the flowers and the stem will break. This alway causes me frustration since I waited all winter to see this plant flower and now this happens.
CROWN IMPERIAL BULBS SOME ADVICE BEFORE PURCHASING
There are lots of complaints about the crown imperial bulbs in regard to the difficulty of the returning blooms. These bulbs are not inexpensive so not to have them come up at all,or rebloom,is a great disappointment to the eye and the pocketbook. I have compiled some suggestions of what others are attempting to make these bulbs bloom. I have not made any effort to experiment with these methods but if you have the time please try one and then let us know through our contact us form how this turned out.
The one method is to devise a two bottom pot where the space between bottoms are filled with gravel and any gritty subtance you can find. The actual pot was filled with enriched potting soil. This pot was then buried in the fall to over winter and the blooms in May were right on schedule. The pot was then removed from the soil,but without disturbing the roots, and moved to some area of the garden where little water will come in contact with the plant except for what falls from the sky. This was done to promote good drainage and have a very minimal amount of water come in contact with crown imperial bulbs.
This method does work but now you are left with a hole in your garden which could be filled by planting dahlia tubers in a pot and placing them in the same area. Dahlias do very well in a buried pot and will fill in the gap. These plants will be discusssed later in the bulbs for summertime.
There is a top grower of the crown imperial bulbs. The method used in obtaining outanding blooms includes growing them in a bulb frame with absolutely no soil in the mix. It involves the use of 1 part sifted forest humus,1 part pumice,and two parts course sand and then sinks the pots into a bigger pot.
Ok now we have come across the terminology of bulb frame and pumice. I know what a cold frame is all about and humus and sand but what is a bulb frame and pumice?
Pumice is a very light colored volcanic rock. Pumice is formed from lava that is full of gas. The lava is ejected and shot through the air during an eruption. As the lava hurtles through the air it cools and the gases escape leaving the rock full of holes. Pumice is so light that it actually floats on water.Pumice is ground up and used today in soaps,abrasive cleansers, and also in polishes. Pumice powder for consumer uses can actually be purchased on the internet. If you enter purchase powered pumice, you will find several companies that carry it. It is not cheap by any means it cost,on one site,a little over $14.00 for five pounds.
This appears to be a simple block frame made to hold potted bulbs of all types. I am assuming from the picture that no enclosure top is necessary but this would have to be researched a little more before constructing one.I understand that a book entitled Rock Garden Design and Construction by the North Garden Society pictures frames nicely illustrated there plus some actual photos of these frames. I am going to purchase a copy. I am sure it must be available on the internet. If anybody has attempted this,please let us know the results on the contact us form.
Now all of this appears rather elaborate just to grow some crown imperial bulbs but this makes gardening exciting. We will be trying this ourselves to see what results can be achieved.
There are several other methods that could be employed but I think I will let it go at this point. It provides enough to chew on for the moment. I would not let all this negativism stop you in the planting of these beautiful bulbs. Try them the traditional way and if you experience problems then by all means try these other methods.
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