Southern Hemisphere bulb turn around

September 1, 2012

Category: Growing Daffodils

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Several of us will be traveling to New Zealand in a few weeks for the 2012 World Daffodil Convention. The tour includes several visits with some raisers and hybridizers , i.e. Brogden, and McLennan, come to mind.  I know that I will have a “must have, would like to have” list of cultivars which strike my fancy and pocketbook.  What would be appreciated are comments from those of you who have successfully acclimatized a bulb to the northern hemisphere.   When did you receive the bulb;  what did you do with it – refrigerate, plant immediately; if refrigerated, how long; how deep did you plant it; was it planted in an open field – read full sun, or where it would be shaded;  Because the USA is so huge, the Dept of Ag has established various zones.  The end result of a blooming daff is what I want, but know that each of the zones will probably have unique answers to the above questions. I do not recall reading anything recently in the Journal about turning a bulb around.   I live in Chester County, PA (8 miles NE of Longwood gardens as the crow flies)  FYI – I bought Hokey-Pokey, NZ bulb,  at the ADS Convention in April. Put it in the refrig until about May 15, put it in the ground about 6 inches, and kept it damp for about a month.  It still hasn’t shown any green.  So hopefully something will happen next spring.

4 responses to “Southern Hemisphere bulb turn around”

  1. Bob Spotts, California Bob Spotts says:


    It’s nice for us to order cultivars from NZ when we are there. But before we go, let’s look at the catalogs/websites of home-country hybridizers and add some new cultivars from them. Spending is down in this economy and times are tough for them.


  2. Anne Wright, England Anne Wright, England says:

    I am in northern England UK so I don’t know if this will help, but I have successfully turned round bulbs from NZ. They usually arrive dormant in March. I pot them into clay pots and water lightly. The pots are plunged up to their rims in damp sand in a shaded glasshouse, and not watered again until leaves show. They produce leaves in a month or so and are kept damp and cool right through the summer. They will keep their leaves through the normal growing season and then go dormant along with all the other bulbs, after which the perform as normal. Incidentally, when I have chipped bulbs received in March straight away, they produce bulbils very quickly.

  3. David Adams says:
    Hi Don,

    Like Anne I use a similar method of turning bulbs around across hemispheres.

    When the bulbs arrive I plant them in 10″ pots and place them in the coolest, shadiest part of the garden. I don’t water them as I believe that water plus summer heat leads to fungus. Ask any athlete what heat plus moisture do to the feet. The bulbs often flower in the autumn, die down a little and are ready to plant out with your normal plantings in the fall. Even if some growth is still apparent that will die down and they will come up as normal the following spring but may take a couple of years to produce quality flowers.

    I assure you this comes from the experience of importing bulbs annually for the last thirty years. Apart from miniatures I have lost very few cultivars in recent times using this method.
    Hokey Pokey has just opened here. You have made a very good investment.. I hope it turns around easily for you.

    David Adams
  4. Michael Berrigan says:

    I pot the bulbs in freely draining mix in a large pot (5 Gallon tree pot) and place it under a row of spruces until Fall.  They do not get direct sun and are watered infrequently.   I then transfer the pot roots, media and leaves at normal depth to a row out in my daffodil patch.   The bulbs are about 2/3 of the size the arrived  and single nosed bulbs typically do not rot.  Blooming is of normal vigor in two years.   The trouble and expense is worth it for the different cultivars that I cannot get locally.