Container Growing

December 15, 2008
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Categories: Bulb Information, Growing Daffodils, Pots

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Hi All,
I think we have missed an important point in the discussion on container growing of daffodils. Whether they be grown indoors or out some cultivars do better in containers. I use the word containers as the idea of ‘pot’ growing has other connotations!
In England some cultivars have proven their worth as container grown cultivars as opposed to grown in the open ground and are therefore winners every year. For me the old ‘Newcastle’ is an example of this. There is no doubt that flowers grown in containers are more refined and less likely to have growing faults. Late flowering cultivars can be exhibited at the early shows thus giving a collection class the best possible cultivars from all parts of the flowering season. The appearance of Dailmanach and Falstaff in the same entry is an illusion.
Growing in containers allows better control of growing medium, better control of fertiliser, better control of temperature and better control of moisture. The containers may be outside all year but placed in a position where optimum growing conditions can occur. With the use of cool treatment bulbs can be made to flower at a pre determined date.
In England the RHS show carries great prestige and the venue is within a few hours from all parts of the country hence the desire to have top quality flowers available on the date of the RHS show. Local shows carry less importance. In the USA the situation is the opposite. It is often difficult to get to the National with flowers and most ADS awards are available at local level where similar growing conditions apply to all exhibitors. Rules for one country  may therefore be different to another for these reasons.
It is my view that container grown flowers are more likely to win Best in Show given all other things being equal.
David Adams
Christchurch.
We too have had Assure Quality clearance for bulb export for a number of years.

5 responses to “Container Growing”

  1. Brian Duncan, Northern Ireland Brian Duncan says:

    

    David,
    I take your point about ‘Newcastle’ which needed added brightness to get whitness! but I think I disagree with your general point that container/greenhouse growing is always better. I hate having to pot up bulbs to ensure I get things in time for London – it means I hump about 25 tons of weight each year between mixing compost, filling pots, shifting pots to plunge bed, from plunge bed to plastic tunnel, from tunnel to shade house, back to plunge bed after flowering then empty pots and discard compost. After this the bulbs need at least a year to recover fully.  This is not a task to be undertaken lightly – and flowers from the heated fuggy environment seldom have the staying power (during transit or at the show) of their outside grown brethern. If they would flower in time I’d much prefer outside grown flowers – but ‘needs must’ ! If we want to show we’ve got to do what we have to do!
    Also I’d just ask – are all those great Champion and Premier Blooms in New Zealand from John Hunter, Spud Brogden, Graeme Miller, Peter Ramsay etc grown in containers under glass?
    Brian

  2. David Adams says:
    Brian,
    Your point of disagreement is partly valid. Flowers grown under glass have little constitution however those grown outside in containers are stronger and last okay. The bulbs certainly suffer.
    Yes, some of our best in shows have been container grown.
    Dave
  3. Denis Dailey says:
    Brian,
    You mentioned that it takes a year for a potted bulb to recover. Would a garden grown bulb that has been cut for show also require a longer recovery period?

    On Mon, Dec 15, 2008 at 6:36 AM, Brian S. Duncan < title=> wrote:

    David,
    I take your point about 'Newcastle' which needed added brightness to get whitness! but I think I disagree with your general point that container/greenhouse growing is always better. I hate having to pot up bulbs to ensure I get things in time for London – it means I hump about 25 tons of weight each year between mixing compost, filling pots, shifting pots to plunge bed, from plunge bed to plastic tunnel, from tunnel to shade house, back to plunge bed after flowering then empty pots and discard compost. After this the bulbs need at least a year to recover fully.  This is not a task to be undertaken lightly – and flowers from the heated fuggy environment seldom have the staying power (during transit or at the show) of their outside grown brethern. If they would flower in time I'd much prefer outside grown flowers – but 'needs must' ! If we want to show we've got to do what we have to do!
    Also I'd just ask – are all those great Champion and Premier Blooms in New Zealand from John Hunter, Spud Brogden, Graeme Miller, Peter Ramsay etc grown in containers under glass?
    Brian
  4. Peter and Lesley Ramsay says:

    Hello All,

     

    Very interesting discussion on container growing.  New Zealanders do not grow as many daffodils for show purpose in containers as is the case in the UK.  I have always marveled at the skill of British and Irish growers in growing daffs in a way which gets them to the show right on time.  My first experience of this was when we were in the Midlands of England on study leave in 1977.  Amongst others we visited Tony Noton and John Lea.  The former grew almost all of his show flowers in large clay pots which he shifted around according to their progress – he had a custom built trolley for this task.  He even had some in his cellar when I was there to slow them down!  He had a lovely pot of Sabine Hay opening there on one our later visits!  John Lea, on the other hand grew very few in containers.  John was a retired engineer and had built a series of movable mini-glasshouses.  His bulbs were planted in flowering order – his little glasshouses were placed initially over the late flowering varieties and shifted to progress all of the varieties to flower in time for the London shows!

     

    Over the years many New Zealanders have grown show varieties in containers especially those living in colder climates.   Henry Dyer was the most successful of these – Mavis Verry who always tried to beat him in the prestigious British Gold Cup Class  often told me about Henry’s skills at getting the late flowering ones onto the show bench.  In recent years Graeme Miller when he lived in Tokoroa (very cold near mountains) grew almost all of his varieties in containers utilisinga  tunnel house (George Tarry did the same in the UK).  Very few other North Islanders have to do this as we have a temperate climate as is the case in Nelson where John Hunter lives.  I have never had a National Champion from pots and only the very very occasional premier.  .My main purpose for growing a few late flowering varieties in pots is to get pollen for use on earlier flowering cultivars.

     

    To answer Brian’s question – I would think that less than 5%of premier blooms at NZ shows come from containers.  Perhaps more at South Island shows but generally the show dates are later there to coincide with peak flowering,  This is why we have two National Shows annually in New Zealand as we would hate to disadvantage the poor old Southerners!!!!! Over to David —- who comes from you know where,,,,,,,,,  brrrrrrr!

     

    Cheers,

     

    Peter

     


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  5. Brian Duncan, Northern Ireland Brian Duncan says:

    Ddnis,
    No, I don’t think so – thast bulb in the open should have a full root run as compared to potted bulbs where they are restricted – especially if several bulbs are crowded into the pots as I tend to do. However, I have heard that a flower stem is worth the equivalent of 3 leaves in terms of photosynthesis – I do not remember the source of the statement – and I have my doubts, despite the fact that stems often stay green much longer than leaves.
    Brian