ADS Executive Director

Sprouting bulbs

October 23, 2018
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Categories: American Daffodil Society, General

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From: Gisela Saheba
Subject: Rescued antique daffodil bulbs in distress

Message Body:

Some 5 weeks ago I rescued some antique daffodil bulbs form a 300 year old farmhouse, ahead of the bulldozer.

I put them into a bucket and layered and covered them with soil from where they had been growing. Then I put them in my entry and forgot them

Today I wanted to plant them. Some had rotted away, all of them started to sprout and a few large ones have put out a few inches of roots.

What can I do to save them? They are particularly beautiful ones, and I dug them up nearly at risk to my life ahead of the bulldozer.

Since they have broken dormancy, should I plant them outside nevertheless, now?. Or is it better to plant them in pots, force them inside and hope they survive until next spring and then plant them outside?

Maybe daffodils can grow in spurts and starts, according to the vagaries of the weather?ANd it does not matter whether they have broken dormancy or not ?. (Spring temperatures also vaccilate up and down so maybe they are adaptable?) . If that is true then I could still re-plant them now and they would have a fair chance to survive. Or are they the kind of bulb that needs to continue growing uninterruptedly once it has broken its dormancy?

I would be heartbroken if I lost them.They had been blooming so vigorously for many years. I think they might be from the thirties.

I live in Zone 6 B.

Thanks you so much

Gisela Saheba

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3 Responses to Sprouting bulbs

  1. Sara Van Beck, Georgia
    October 23, 2018 at 7:27 am

    Dear Gisela,

    Daffodil bulbs always do best in the ground
    As they have sprouted roots, they should be planted immediately and at their proper depth
    Old bulbs often sprout earlier; in the deep South, as the heirlooms are the first to bloom they are the first to sprout roots; mine usually start sprouting roots shortly after Labor Day
    Delay or speeding up of when daffs break dormancy in our region is triggered by the dance of end of summer drought vs first heavy fall rain
    Mine in Atlanta have all sprouted roots, so I’ve had to water during our two intermittent droughts, but now with the heat wave over the soil moisture level is holding (we were 15* above average for weeks from early Sept to Oct, now we’re 5* or so below avg)
    Hope this helps, look forward to some photos in the spring!

    -Sara
    Sara L. Van Beck
    Downtown Atlanta Ga, used to be zone 7 now zone 8

  2. Drew Mc Farland, Ohio
    Drew Mc Farland, Ohio
    October 23, 2018 at 7:29 am

    I’d get the healthy ones in the ground. Should be fine.

    Drew McFarland

  3. Mary Lou Gripshover, Ohio
    Mary Lou Gripshover, Ohio
    October 23, 2018 at 4:34 pm

    I agree with Drew.  Get them planted in the ground as soon as you can.

    Mary Lou                                                                                                                                                                    Cincinnati area.