Category Archives: does not require chilling

Growing Canna (red futurity)

We just bought several Canna ‘Red Futurity’ roots/rhizomes that we are planting in N’s office. These are very tropical looking and require warmth so we figured they would be a perfect fit in that room. They came packaged with Caladium bulbs and a few elephant ear bulbs.

We plan to plant our Cannas in a large pot that will remain indoors in that room, we may also plant a Caladium bulb with the Canna rhizomes or we may plant some cloeus with the Cannas.

Cannas come in a variety of colors and sizes, some grow up to 7 feet tall. Their blooms and leaves are very tropical looking and they are absolutely beautiful. Specifically Canna ‘Red Futurity’ needs to be protected from frost. It can be grown grow outdoors in zones 8 and higher, in colder zones it must be moved inside or dug up and stored through the frosty winter months.

This Canna will grow to about 3- 3 1/2 feet tall and does best in full sun but will tolerate part shade. Soil must be well drained or you risk root/ rhizome rotting. Like most tropical bulbs if you want to plant these outdoors you must do so in the spring after the last frost, they will bloom in summer and will need to be dug up and stored in the fall before the first frost (unless you live in zone 8 or higher).

The Canna ‘Red Futurity’ is distinguished by it’s dark burgundy leaves and it’s stunning red flowers that just stand out against the dark burgundy background.


Growing Calla Lilies

calla-lily.jpgI just rescued some potted calla lilies from the grocery store. They were in the discount section where we often find perfectly good plants that just need the right care. These particular calla lilies were forced to bloom for valentines day, since their blooming period had passed they were being discarded.

The great thing about bulbs, tubers and corms is that they usually will re-flower year after year when given the right growing conditions and care. Specifically calla lilies are grown from tubers and bloom in late spring and are considered “perennial bulbs” that will return year after year.

They are hardy in zones 9 & 10 and can be left in the ground between blooming seasons, in all other zones they will need to be dug up, dried and stored during the winter. Calla lilies don’t do well in frosty conditions and will often fail to return the next season if exposed to freezing temperatures.

The great thing about Calla lilies is that they can be grown as a houseplant easily. As houseplants they should be given a 2 to 3 month rest period without moisture once they bloom. Flowers will fade and can be cut back but the leaves will remain green until you reduce the amount of water given. Reducing the water after flowering will initate the 2 to 3 month rest period. After this time has passed they should be repotted and lightly watered until new growth appears.

If you prefer to grow your calla lilies outdoors you can start your in indoors in later winter and transplant them outdoors after your last frost in the spring, the calla lilies will grow and bloom through spring, summer and even fall but will need to be dug up, divided and stored during the winter if you aren’t in zones 9 or 10.

Amaryllis time lapse video

Well, I did it! I finished my amaryllis bulb time lapse video. I actually wanted to make the video to show people how awesome bulbs are. It’s not the best video ever but it’s pretty good for my first time lapse attempt! I was taking photos for about 4 days.. Getting the lighting and background just right and keeping it that way was hard but it turned out alright!

Tonight I had the most fun putting the slides to the music. I used Tchaikovsky’s Waltz of the Flowers for the background music (hope that is not bad)… Enjoy the video and if you are interested in buying a blooming bulb gift similar to this one for yourself or a friend check out my online store! The blooming bulb gift makes are great gift that keeps on giving!

Growing Narcissus- Paperwhites

Today I deadheaded my paperwhites that I forced indoors this winter and I thought I would share some knowledge about growing these flowering bulbs with you today as an addition to my Gardening Reference Section on this site.

Paperwhites are part of the Narcissus family as are daffodils. Unlike most daffodils paperwhites are very fragrant and are a popular bulb that is often forced indoors. They take between 4 and 6 weeks to grow and begin blooming.

Paperwhites don’t require much space, can be planted in tight clumps in soil or rocks, don’t like to be over watered and do not require a chilling period to re bloom next growing season. They actually are not a good outdoor bulb if you live in a frosty location and this is why so many love to force them indoors.

If you want to enjoy paperwhites but live in an area that receives snow you can plant them indoors in a pot with soil or you can decoratively position the bulbs in a nice bowl or jar with some rocks. Paperwhites can be planted in tight clusters for a pretty effect. Like I said before they don’t mind crowding.

Most people will want their paperwhites to bloom indoors during the winter which is coincidentally the time when most bulbs recharge and grow roots for the coming growth season. Forcing paperwhite bulbs indoors will take much energy from the bulbs thus making blooming the following year difficult. It often takes two to three years before the forced bulbs will re bloom again and many people will simply toss their paperwhite bulbs after forcing.

Forcing Paperwhites Indoors-

To force your paperwhite bulbs simply plant them so the bulb top is level with the soil or other chosen growing medium, lightly water and then place the planted bulbs in a cool/ dark place (45 to 55 degrees is ideal) for about 2 weeks. This allows the roots time to develop before the rapid leaf and stem growth begins. Water lightly as needed and when you see that the stems and leaves have begun to emerge from the bulb (if you planted the bulb in rocks you will also be able to see that the roots have grown) you can relocate the planted bulb to a bright/ cool room and watch the beauty unfold!

Planting Paperwhites Outdoors-

Paperwhites are winter hardy outdoors ONLY in zones 8-10 (want to find your hardiness zone?), they are not really winter hardy like daffodils and since they don’t require a chilling period the frosty weather will often do much damage to these bulbs.

If you live in a warmer area where you can plant these outdoors you should do so in the fall. Plant your paperwhites in a location that gets full sun for most of the day and plant the bulbs about 3-4inches below the soil surface. When planted outdoors in the fall they will have the winter to develop hardy root systems and will surface in the spring to bloom.

Care during the dormant period-

Deadheading the spent flowers will help the bulb preserve energy for the next growing season but do not clip the leaves. Leaves should be allowed to die back naturally and photosynthesize (this is part of the recharging process of the bulb), when the leaves are all dead (about 6 weeks after flowering) they can only then be clipped or mowed. In poor soils or when in containers a high-phosphate fertilizer applied in the spring will help the bulb recharge for the next growing season.

Growing Paperwhites as Perennials Indoors in colder climates- 
If you want your paperwhites to come back year after year they need to be grown in soil and provided with ample “food”. If you are like me and live in a colder climate consider planting your paperwhites with another bulb or plant. This way you can allow your paperwhites to grow, die back and be undisturbed until they are ready to grow again. I planted mine in a pot with anemonies and added bone meal to the soil for added nutrients.

Gardening info: Growing Begonias

begonia.jpgI bought some begonias last fall and have been growing them since. I got one hanging basket begonia and one upright plant with huge blooms. Neither one have flowered yet and I am on a mission to figure out why!

Begonias don’t like full sun! They actually prefer to have about 50% shade and need morning/ AM sun. Their leaves can become sunburned easily so be careful where you plant these guys!

Begonias are another plant that can be killed by over watering them. Begonias need water but cannot become waterlogged! They should only be watered when the top soil is dry, be very careful to avoid over watering these!

Begonias should be planted in the spring and many sites say that your begonia tuber should not be planted until a sprout appears first. Tubers sprout best in a warm and dark place so if yours is slow to sprout check it’s location.

The autumn and fall cooler temperatures will not damage your begonia if you have them outside. Also, Begonias can be beautifully grown indoors if you prefer this method. They will do best in filtered light through a sheer curtain or something similar.

It is recommended that you stop watering your begonia tuber in or around may. This is the beginning of their dormant time and they will need this time for the tuber to grow and store food for the next bloom season. Wait to dig up your begonias, the foliage must dry up and break away “with the brush of a hand” before you should dig them up.

For prorogation techniques check out this helpful site: http://www.bradsbegoniaworld.com/prop.htm 

Flowering Problems-
If your begonia grows flower buds but they fall off before opening this is a sign that your begonia is over watered. If your begonia had large leaves and is becoming tall and “spindly” it is not getting enough sunlight and needs a brighter location.

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I did not take the photo listed in this post. I also do not hotlink images so I am giving credit where credit is due. The image is from: http://www.bookishgardener.com/plants/index.html