T. W. (Thomas William) Sanders.

Bulbs and their cultivation : a practical treatise on the cultivation and propagation of window and indoor bulbous and tuberous-rooted plants ... online

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BULBS

AND THEIR

CULTIVATION





MAIN LIBRARY AGK1C.



s:



i *t



LILIUM MONADELPHUM SZOVITZIANUM.

A handsome border lily. Grows 4 ft. high, and flowers in July. Colour :
yellow, spotted with black. Native of the Caucasus.



BULBS

And their Cultivation.



A Practical Treatise on the Cultivation and
Propagation of Window and Indoor Bulbous
and Tuberous-Rooted Plants, adapted for
Outdoor, Greenhouse, and Room Decoration,
:: with Lists of Species and Varieties. ::



1 BY '

T. W. BANDERS, F.L.S., F.R.H.S.,

knight of the First Class of the
Royal Order of Vasa, Sweden.

(Editor of "Amateur Gardening," and Author of "An
Encyclopaedia of Gardening," 'The Flower Garden,"
"Vegetables and their Cultivation," "Roses and their
Cultivation." "Amateur's Greenhouse," "Alphabet
of Gardening," etc.)



ILLUSTRATED.



[Second Edition.]



LONDON :
W. H. 6? L. COLLINGRIDGE, 148 & 149, Aldersgate Street, E.G.




LONDON :

PRINTED BY W. H. AND L, COLLINGRIDGE,
148 AND 149, ALDERSGATE STREET, E.C.



MAIN LIBRARY AGRIC. DMT,



CONTENTS.



PAGE

INTRODUCTION 4

PART I.
HARDY BULBS.

Chap. I. BULBS, CORMS AND TUBERS 9

II. SOILS AND MANURES .. 14

,, III. LIFTING AND STORING BULBS ... 16

,, IV. BULBS IN BEDS AND BORDERS 18

V. BULBS ON ROCKERIES 24

VI. NATURALISING BULBS 26

,, VII. OUTDOOR LILIES 31

VIII. TUBEROUS-ROOTED PLANTS 34

,, IX. LIST OF HARDY TUBEROUS-ROOTED PLANTS ... 43

X. LIST OF HARDY AND HALF-HARDY BULBS 48

PART II.
BULBS IN ROOMS, ETC.

Chap. I. CULTURE IN WATER 77

,, II. CULTURE IN Moss FIBRE 80

,, III. CULTURE IN WINDOW BOXES 85

PART III.
BULBS UNDER GLASS.

Chap. I. CULTURE IN HOTHOUSES 88

II. CULTURE IN WARM GREENHOUSES 101

,, III. CULTURE IN COOL GREENHOUSES 107

IV. CULTURE IN COLD GREENHOUSES 119

V. FORCING BULBS 146

,, VI. CULTURE IN FRAMES 148

PART IV.
MISCELLANEOUS.

Chap. I. PROPAGATION OF BULBS AND TUBERS 150

II. PESTS AND DISEASES 154

III. ENGLISH NAMES OF BULBS 166

,, IV. SELECTIONS OF BULBS AND TUBERS ... 170

,, V. GLOSSARY OF TERMS 185

INDEX 997930' - ~ 2 . m



FOREWORDS.



AMONG the great wealth of vegetation at the command of
man for decorating his garden and greenhouse few plants
possess greater attractiveness, charm, or beauty than
those that belong to the bulbous and tuberous-rooted sec-
tion of the vegetable kingdom. Many of them have
graced our gardens for centuries, been idolised and almost
worshipped by our forbears, and in more recent times
held in the highest esteem by flower lovers of every de-
gree and in every station of life. Owners of princely
demesnes have of late years adopted the commendable
and artistic fashion of growing hardy kinds by the
thousand in meads and woodlands ; those of suburban
and town gardens have also taken a supreme delight in
cultivating them in beds, borders, and greenhouses; and
others, again, who lacked the luxury of a garden, have
shown an interest in these beautiful flowers by growing
them on the window-sill, the balcony, roof garden, and in
the home. Still more interesting is the fact of children
being encouraged to cultivate bulbs in pots, glasses, and
bowls as a means of inculcating a love of nature, finding
them a pleasant occupation for leisure moments, and de-
veloping the natural instincts of love, work, and delight
within the minds of the young. A praiseworthy example



FOREWORDS. 5

of this phase of gardening has been set by the educational
authorities of Sheffield, who every year distribute many
thousands of bulbs to children to grow, and afterwards
exhibit for prizes at an annual show.

In all ages bulbs and bulb culture seem to have been
held in popular esteem. Even the barbarous Turk in
bygone days excelled in the culture of the Tulip and
Ranunculus, and regarded the plants as priceless trea-
sures. The Greeks and the Romans, moreover, delighted
in growing lilies and hyacinths; and, in later days,
history shows that the Flemish and Dutch indulged
in the cultivation and admiration of a host of 'bul-
bous and tuberous - rooted plants. In Holland and
in France, indeed, the rage for rearing and cultivating
tulips was carried on to such a degree that it de-
veloped into a mania. History affirms that in the
seventeenth century the craze for these bulbs was so great
that as large a sum as 10,000,000 sterling was received
in Haarlem and district for new or rare tulips. For a
single bulb of a variety named Semper Augustus the price
of 4,600 florins, together with a new carriage, harness,
etc., was paid. In other instances a single bulb was sold
for twelve acres of land, and another for securities of the
value of 5,000. Failing to secure the price asked from
any one person, lotteries were arranged, and bulbs dis-
posed of in that way. The result was, as in the modern
instance of the potato boom, wealthy folk who gambled
in so wild a speculation were reduced to absolute beggary,
and the Government compelled to suppress the mania.
Fortunately, in England no such craze has arisen. Lovers
of daffodils, however, who are possessed of wealth
do not hesitate to pay high prices for novelties, especially
the newer varieties of narcissi.

One of the great charms of bulbous and tuberous-rooted
plants is the fact of their flowering mainly at a period of



6 FOREWORDS.

the year when there is a paucity of other flowering plants.
As Thomson has so happily expressed in verse :

" Fair-handed Spring unbosoms ev'ry grace,
Throws out the Snowdrop, and the Crocus first;
The Daisy, Primrose, Violet darkly blue,
And Polyanthus of unnumbered dyes;
The yellow "Wallflower, stained with iron brown ;
And lavish Stock that scents the garden round ;
From the soft wings of vernal breezes shed,
Anemones; Auriculas enriched
With shining meal o'er all their velvet leaves ;
And full Ranunculus, of glowing red.
Then comes the Tulip race, where, Beauty plays
Her idle freaks; from family diffused
To family, as flies the father dust,
The varied colours run; and while they break
On the charmed, eye, th' exulting florist marks,
With secret pride, the wonders of his hand.
No gradual bloom is wanting; from the bud,
First-born of Spring, to Summer's musky wiles :
Nor Hyacinths, of purest virgin white,
Low-bent, and blushing inward: nor Jonquils,
Of potent fragrance ; nor Narcissus fair,
As o'er the fabled fountain hanging still ;
Nor broad Carnations, nor gay spotted Pinks;
Nor showered from ev'ry bush, the Damask rose.
Infinite numbers, delicacies, smells,
With hues on hues expression cannot paint,
The breath of Nature, and her endless bloom."

And not only in spring, but in dreary autumn and
wintry days, to say nothing of summer, we have in the
great family of bulbs and tubers precious blossom to add
colour and gaiety to our gardens, window-sills, etc. In
winter, for example, the hardy cyclamens, winter aco-
nites, snowdrops, and some of the irises grace the rockery
or the lawn with chaste and simple beauty. In spring the
gay crocus, squill, narcissi, star-flower, Glory of the Snow,
many irises, tulips, hyacinth, bluebell, anemone, dog's-
tooth violet and grape hyacinth are a few of the many
beautiful bulbs and flowers that will flood the mead,
woodland, and garden with a plethora of precious richly-
coloured blossom. And what shall we say of summer
days, when lilies galore, Spanish and English irises, early



FOREWORDS, 7

gladioli, ixias, sparaxis, and a host of other beautiful
kinds, including the stately Eremuri, shed their floral re-
fulgence on the garden and fill the air with dreamy fra-
grance? And when russety autumn arrives there are the
meadow saffrons, the autumn crocuses and cyclamen, the
gorgeous gladioli, and so on, to vie with the richness of
the dying autumnal tints.

As in our gardens, so in our greenhouses, we have a
wealth of really beautiful subjects to cheer us in autumn,
winter, and spring; indeed, if it were not for the great
variety of bulbs, and the easiness with which they lend
themselves to being forced into flower, our greenhouses
and hot-houses would not be the bright and cheer-
ful spots they are in autumn and winter days.

Bulbs, indeed, are indispensable members of the vege-
table kingdom, and it is well that we have not only a large
number of genera and species, but also, thanks to home
and Dutch growers, such a wonderful number of pretty
varieties to suit all conditions of growth and all tastes as
regards form and colour. In the gladioli, narcissi, and
cottage or May-flowering tulip families we have, indeed, a
glorious wealth of colour, mostly the product of enterpris-
ing growers in England and Ireland. It is a great satis-
faction to know that these families of plants can be grown
with such signal success commercially in our own coun-
try, and that we have not to depend entirely on foreign
supplies for them.

The Cottage or May -flowering tulips are bulbs of such
exquisite loveliness that they deserve a place in every
garden. They come into flower in May and June, and
help to form a connecting link between the ordinary
spring-flowering and the summer-blooming bulbs. We
cannot too strongly impress upon our readers the inesti-
mable value of these tulips for massing in the borders or
naturalising in grass, and everyone should make a point
of growing some, at least, of the varieties and species
named elsewhere. We might also speak in equally glow-



8 FOREWORDS,

ing terms of praise about the glories of the many precious
types and varieties of the Narcissi family.

Lastly, we would strongly counsel the reader to study
the tabulated list of hardy bulbs, and note the many kinds
there advised for culture on rockeries. If it stimulates
him to grow them, and to carpet the surface with lowly
alpine plants, he will indeed derive great pleasure from
the pursuit. And, above all, if the reader will only
cultivate hardy bulbs in his cold house he will de-
rive far greater satisfaction from them than from ordi-
nary plants, and add immensely to the pleasure and
profit of that most ancient and inspiring of all pursuits
the art and craft of gardening.

In issuing a second edition of this work the Author has
taken advantage of the opportunity to revise the text, add
new illustrations, and bring the tabulated lists and selec-
tions up to date. The work has thus been made as replete
as is possible for its size and price on the subject of bulb
culture in the garden, greenhouse, and the home.

T. W. S.
1913.




Bulbs and their Cultivation.



Part I. -HARDY BULBS.

CHAPTER I.

BULBS, CORMS AND TUBERS.

IN the various chapters in this work frequent use of the
terms bulb, corm, and tuber has been made in connection
with cultural and other details. The experienced gar-
dener and the botanist know, of course, precisely what
these terms mean, and to what genera of plants they
strictly apply. Not so, however, those who have had
little experience of gardening and botany, and, as this
work is primarily intended for the latter class, it is de-
sirable that we should give a brief explanation of each
term.

What is a Bulb? A bulb may be defined as a modi-
fied underground stem surrounded at its base with fleshy
scales rolled round each other, as in the case of the hya-
cinth, or overlapping, as in a lily bulb. The scales are
really modified leaves, and their office is to hold food in



10



BULBS AND THEIR CULTIVATION.





A.





TYPES OP BULBS.



A, Lily bulb, showing overlapping scales. B, Scilla bnlb, showing: scales rolled
id each other. 0, Tulip bulb, with smooth scales. D.



round

rough rolled scales.



Narcissus bulb, with



BULBS, CORMS AND TUBERS.



11



reserve for supporting the embryo stem and flowers within
until new roots form to collect additional food to meet the
requirements of the new growing stem. Thus the fleshy




3.

TYPES OF CORMS.

A, Oorm of a Gladiolus. B, Corm of a Gladiolus after a season's growth. Below
is the base of the old exhausted corm with new conns on top. The small nodules on
the roots are " connlets " or " spawn " which may be grown on to make flowering
corms. C, Crocus corm.

scales are storehouses of food collected by the roots and
elaborated by the leaves, and sent down by them the pre-



12 BULBS AND THEIR CULTIVATION.

vious year in readiness for the new stems to draw upon
the next season. It naturally follows, therefore, that
if the leaves are removed from the bulbs before they have
turned quite yellow and withered, less reserve food is
stored up in the scales, and the embryo spike or flower
stem has, consequently, an insufficient supply to enable
it to develop fully. Let the leaves complete their work
of manufacturing all the raw food sent up by the roots into
elaborated or reserve food to be stored up in the scales,
and then good flowers may be expected the next year.

What is a Corm ? A corm is in general outward ap-
pearance like a bulb; but if the bulb of, say, a hyacinth
and the corm of a crocus be cut through, the difference
will be seen at once. Instead of fleshy scales, we shall
find a solid substance with just a few faint ridges on the
outside. These ridges are the remains of the few thin
scales the corm produced in a younger stage of develop-
ment. The fleshy solid contents of the corm are reserve
food prepared in the same way as that described in the
case of bulbs. This reserve food is wholly utilised by the
young growth and flowers, and at the end of the season
the corm which contained it will be found shrivelled up,
and new corms formed to take its place. A bulb practi-
cally goes on increasing in size year by year, if properly
grown, but a corm exists for one season only, its place
being taken by younger ones partly formed out of the re-
serve food of its parent and new food elaborated by the
leaves. Examine the corm of a crocus, gladiolus, or
Tritonia (Montbretia) at the end of the season.

What is a Tuber? A tuber is a swollen under-
ground stem, which may simply be an enlargement of a
portion of a root, as in the case of Tropaeolum tuberosum,
and of one season's duration only; or an individual growth
of perennial duration, as in the case of the Winter Aconite,
Gloxinia, and Tuberous-rooted Begonia. It has almost
invisible leaf -scales upon its outer surface, and a solid



BULBS, CORMS AND TUBERS.



13



body within composed of reserve food for supporting
future growth. In the case of the Tropseolum, as in that
of the Potato, the old tuber gives up all its reserve food to
the new growth, and eventually perishes; but in the case
of the Gloxinia it only supplies a portion of the food, and
has the power of absorbing additional food each year, and




TYPES OF TUBERS.

A, Tuber of Erythronium dens-canis. B, Tubers of AlstrQmeria. C, Tuber of an

Anemone.

thereby increasing in size. Tubers vary a great deal in
size and shape, according to the size of the plant.

In all cases the primary object of a bulb, corm, or
tuber is to store up reserve food, and they may be con-
sidered in this respect as analogous to seeds, a means of
ensuring the perpetuation of the species. Under the
action of sunlight the sap absorbed by the roots is, by the



14 BULBS AND THEIR CULTIVATION.

aid of chlorophyll in the leaves, converted from a crude
state into special food, which is conducted down in due
course to the bulb scales and the reservoirs of corm and
tuber, to await the requirements of new growth in spring.



CHAPTEE II.

SOILS AND MANURES.

THE majority of hardy bulbous and tuberous-rooted plants
will do very well in good ordinary soil, as a reference to
the list of genera and species on page 53 will show. A
few, however, require special composts, such as peat,
leaf-mould, etc. As to manures, bulbs do not appreciate
these to the same extent as other hardy plants, a little
sufficing to meet their requirements. Most of them like
a rich soil, it is true, but if manures are added they must
not be of a rank description, nor be placed in close con-
tact with the bulbs.

Soil. This should be deeply dug, in order to ensure
free drainage and absence of stagnant water. Heavy soils
should be liberally dressed with grit and leaf-mould, in
addition to well-rotted manure. The earlier the soil can
be dug and got ready before planting the better. The old
florists used to pay a good deal of attention to this matter,
and the modern ones would be well advised also to do so.
Bulbs generally do best in a sandy loam. The secret of
the bulb industry in Holland is due entirely to the sandy
soil and the judicious use of cow manure. Those, there-
fore, who possess a sandy soil may hope to grow bulbs



SOILS AND MANURES, 15

well. But heavy soils, if treated as above advised, will
do equally well for bulb growing in gardens. The best
form of leaf -mould is that obtained from an oak coppice.
Ordinary leaf-mould made from elm, lime, sycamore, and
poplar leaves is not so good, because it is apt to introduce
fungi to the soil. The peat, too, should not be too light,
spongy, fibry, or boggy in nature, but of a medium tex-
ture, and the best sand to use is the coarse silver sand.
Cocoanut-fibre refuse also comes in handy for mulching
the surface after planting.

Manures. For light soils decayed cow manure is
best, and for heavy ones well-rotted horse manure is the
most suitable. Both should be buried six inches for small
bulbs and a foot below the surface for the large ones.
When the bulbs are in full growth their roots will then
easily reach the manure and benefit by it. When the
manure is near the surface the roots cannot derive any
benefit from it; moreover, if it should happen to touch
the bulbs it invariably subjects them to disease. Arti-
ficial manures are very beneficial to bulbs if judiciously
applied. On the heavier soils apply basic slag at the rate
of 4oz. per square yard, and kainit at the rate of loz. per
square yard. On light soils superphosphate should be
used instead of basic slag, at the rate of IJoz. per square
yard, and kainit at the same rate as advised for a heavy
soil. In both cases apply in autumn, when preparing the
soil. Bone-meal is also a good artificial manure for a
heavy soil, and should be used at the same rate as advised
for slag. For a spring dressing, in default of an autumn
application, apply IJoz. of superphosphate and Joz. of
sulphate of potash per square yard, forking it in. A good
all-round fertiliser for permanent and temporary bulbs is
the following: Mix together one part by weight of kainit,
two parts of mineral phosphate, half a part of nitrate of
soda, and a quarter part of sulphate of iron. Apply one
ounce of this mixture to every square foot of soil occupied



16 BULBS AND THEIR CULTIVATION.

by the bulbs, or a quarter-ounce to each six-inch pot when
the bulbs have begun to show their flower-stems. Out-
door bulbs, especially those of a permanent nature, ought
also to be liberally mulched with rotten manure in early
spring to keep the soil cool and prevent evaporation of
moisture.



CHAPTER III.

LIFTING AND STORING BULBS.

SOME bulbous and tuberous-rooted plants succeed best if
lifted, dried, stored, and replanted in autumn or spring.
Others, again, merely require to be lifted in autumn and
replanted at once; while the majority may be grown in the
ground all the year and only lifted and replanted every few
years. Although this subject has been briefly referred to
in some of the chapters dealing with outdoor bulbs, it
will be more helpful to the reader if we deal with it more
fully and specifically here.

The Object of Lifting: is a threefold one. First of
all, it enables certain bulbs which do not ripen satisfac-
torily in the soil to be well ripened by exposure to the air
and storage in a dry atmosphere. Secondly, it enables
the site they occupy to be planted with other plants for a
portion of the year; and, thirdly, it affords an opportunity
of seperating the mature flowering-sized bulbs from the
non-flowering offsets, and so make sure of having colonies
of bulbs uniform in the number and quality of their
flowers.

Bulbs Requiring: to be Annually Lifted. Those
that need to be lifted, dried, stored, and replanted



LIFTING AND SORTING BULBS, 17

annually are: Hyacinths, Darwin, Parrot, and ordinary
bedding tulips ; babianas, calochorti ; bedding crocuses
only, gladioli, ixias, Milla bifiora, anemones, tuberous-
rooted begonias, ranunculi, sparaxi, Tropreolum
tuberosum, and tigridias. The hyacinths, tulips, and
crocuses should either remain in their flowering positions
until the foliage has turned yellow and withered; or, if
their site be required for summer plants, be lifted and
replanted at once in a reserve bed till growth is completed.
The ixias, babianas, calochorti, millas, and sparaxi must
be permitted to remain in the soil until they have lost
their foliage. The same remarks apply to the anemones
and ranunculi. The gladioli and tigridias should be lifted
at the end of October. All, except the two last, should
be divested of dead foliage, loose scales, and dead roots,
and stored in shallow boxes in a cool, airy shed to get
quite dry, when store in any cool place till planting time.
The gladioli and tigridias should be tied in small bunches,
and hung up in an airy shed till quite dry ; then be cleared
of dead foliage and offsets. Store the tigridias and
tropseolum tubers in dry silver sand, and the gladioli in
shallow boxes in a cool frost-proof place. Tuberous-rooted
begonias should be lifted in September, placed close
together in shallow boxes in a greenhouse till the leaves
wither; then have the stems and leaves twisted off and the
tubers stored in fibre refuse in a heated greenhouse.
Anemones and ranunculi should be placed thinly in boxes
in a cool shed, and, when quite dry, be divested of dead
foliage and then stored in boxes in a cool, dry place.
Narcissi used for bedding may be treated like hyacinths.

Bulbs Requiring Annual Lifting: and Replant.
ing 1 . The only kinds needing to be lifted and replanted
annually are the crocosmias and the tritonias or mont-
bretias. The corms have a tendency to push themselves
to the top of the soil, and hence are best replanted each
November.

c



18 BULBS AND THEIR CULTIVATION.

Bulbs Requiring: Periodical Lifting. Ml the

narcissi grown in borders are best lifted every third or
fourth year. If left longer the bulbs are apt to flower
sparsely, owing to soil exhaustion and overcrowding by
offsets. The bulbs should be lifted in July, when the
leaves have quite faded, then be placed in shallow boxes
in a cool place till quite dry. Afterwards divest them of
dead foliage and offsets, and store in boxes as advised for
other bulbs till replanting time. Other genera requiring
similar treatment are alliums, brevoortias, brodiaeas, bulbo-
codiums, camassias, chionodoxas, colchicums, crocus
species, fritillarias, snowdrops, galtonias, hyacinthuses,
irises, leucojums, ornithogalums, puschkinias, scillas, and
sternbergias. Lilies do not require lifting and transplant-
ing so long as they are doing well. In case lifting is
necessary, the bulbs of candidum are best lifted and
replanted directly after flowering, and the remaining
species in November. A golden rule to observe in the
case of all bulbs that only need periodical relifting is
not to do it oftener than necessary. So long as they grow
and flower well leave them alone.

A Special Note In the case of bulbs naturalised
in turf, or in mixed borders, there is no necessity to lift
them unless they show signs of deterioration.



CHAPTER IV.

BULBS IN BEDS AND BORDERS.

BULBS, especially those that flower in spring, are popular
subjects for bed and border culture in gardens of all dimen-
sions. Hyacinths and tulips are particularly well adapted
for growing in formal lines or rows, beds, and borders. In



BULBS IN BEDS AND BORDERS, 19

borders of more ample scope quite a wealth of beautiful
spring, summer, and autumn-flowering bulbs may, how-
ever, be grown in a less formal fashion, in groups or
masses, in conjunction with other hardy plants, and this
is really the most effective way of growing them.



I. CULTURE IN BEDS.

Colour Schemes When grown in beds the reader
has the choice of growing a number of kinds, arranged in
rows or circles according to height; or, as in the case of
a group of beds, of devoting a bed to each kind. In either
event a good effect can only be ensured by planting the
bulbs according to a properly-defined colour scheme. Beds
planted with mixed varieties of hyacinths or tulips are
an exception to this rule, since their colours will blend
harmoniously ; but, where rows or lines of distinct colour


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