Poor nutrition and petal shape

October 22, 2008

Categories: Bulb Information, Daffodil Types, Growing Daffodils, Historics, Species

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Had a ruminating thought… In the fustrating world of historics, Joe Hamm always cautions that years of poor nutrition can change a flower’s appearance. Harold K. indicated earlier that nutrition doesn’t impact (i’ve forgotten his exact wording) the flowering of the small species in question. AM Kirby in 1906 said not to plant fancy bulbs out in the grass because they’d revert to their wild, simple form over time.
So, in hybrids, does poor nutrition change the actual shape of the petal? or just its relative size? So, say, does it take the shouldering out? or make an obovate form contract to oblong? or just make an oblong shape even skinnier?
Enquiring minds want to know!

5 responses to “Poor nutrition and petal shape”

  1. Harold Koopowitz, California Harold Koopowitz says:

    Actually I am sure that nutrition can have some effect. But bigger does not necessarily mean better; I have always been told that overfeeding can produce coarse flowers. The late Phil Phillips in NZ always believed that hot water treatment yielded better flowers with broader and smoother segments. I know that if I store my seedlings in the garage over the summer they often yield better flowers than those left in the ground, but not always :- Harold
    At 05:54 PM 10/22/2008, you wrote:

  2. Brian Duncan, Northern Ireland Brian Duncan says:

    Harold, I’m afraid that my Hot Water Treatment usually results in very inferior flowers – but maybe I over do it in time and temperature – to be sure to be sure! I just wait for the 2 yr. down flrs. I agree that nutrition is important – but getting that balance right in different soils is the problem. Climate and light intensity also have a major bearing on quality of blooms – I envy those with warmer brighter places like the Waikato and Tasmania – where you could throw a stick on the ground and it would grow! Brian

  3. Peter and Lesley Ramsay says:

    Hello All,
    We are fortunate that we reside in the Waikato, New Zealand, with wonderful soil and a temperate climate. However our climate is changing and if it keeps going in the present direction I will be looking for another yellow plant – bananas perhaps!
    Re Nutrition and HWT. There is no question that proper nutrition improves texture, substance, size and colour. Like many others we obtain soil tests and add whatever fertilizer is needed. We also study research and commentaries on good bulb and flower production. You can overfeed or underfeed – we watch foliage very carefully and will have tests done if there looks to be any nutritional problems.
    Re hot water treatment. Again there is a lot of research which outlines its benefits. The impact on the flower depends on how long and at what temperature you treat. My standard was one hour at 118F and that did no harm to the flowers. Indeed I believe the quality improved dramatically – I started to win more regularly at shows! Of course this would not satisfy hard nosed scientists as there was no control group – but other evidence from Rosewarne Research Station and elsewhere supported my casual observations. Of late I have been experimenting with three hours at 100F. Again my casual observations suggest improvements and one of my main problems (bulb scale mite) has almost disappeared. Of course neither of the treatments I have described will deal with nematodes if you are unlucky enough to have them. Three hours at 120plus is needed and that will harm the flowers. Any new acquisitions get just that here!
    As far as impact on size is concerned I believe Phil (from whom I learnt a lot) is probably correct. Harold’s throwaway line that bigger does not mean better is interesting. There is a common misconception that New Zealanders (and probably Irish and English as well) prefer large flowers. Our judging scale awards, inter alia, 15 points for size and 30 points for form, which tells the true story. Certainly we like well grown flowers but they have to be smooth and with good form, clear colour etc etc. It is only when everything else is the same that the bigger flower will prevail. Of course, to introduce another contentious issue, with the introduction of classes for intermediates, many growers are now looking at ways of downsizing blooms!!!!
    So there it is for today
    Peter and Lesley
    PS Apologies to those few people who responded to my judging exercise. I’m tied up with an upcoming Rose Festival as well as a getting our garden ship shape for a couple of visits. I will reply individually to each of you soon.

  4. Marilyn Howe says:

    Hi Peter,
    Large Flowers are wonderful as long as they are refined.

  5. Peter and Lesley Ramsay says:

    That’s what I am saying Marilyn tho the word “refined” does not appear in our Judging Manual and to play with words is not easily defined!





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