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Author Topic: Growing Narcissus: Help!  (Read 3939 times)

JPB

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Growing Narcissus: Help!
« on: May 30, 2009, 11:38:54 AM »
Exept for the yellow Bulbocodiums and N. pseudonarcissus I really have no cue how to grow them.
At best they survive without growth or flowering (N. serotinus) but most of them simply shrivel or rot away (N. cantabricus; N. albidus; N. paucinervis etc.)....

I tried several soil mixtures (from boggy to gritty), different temperatures/light/watering but so far with no results.

Any adivise is very much appreciated!

Hans
NE part of The Netherlands. Hardiness zone 7/8

Lesley Cox

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Re: Growing Narcissus: Help!
« Reply #1 on: May 30, 2009, 11:20:50 PM »
Being in Holland Hans, you should be able to grow Narcissus to your heart's content. In general, they like a warm, sunny spot, well drained and perhaps sandy. Have a look at the soil in any of Holland's famous bulb fields. Those from North Africa and Spain/Portugal like a warm, dry summer while those from cooler climates such as N. cyclamineus don't like to become too dry while dormant.
Lesley Cox - near Dunedin, lower east coast, South Island of New Zealand - Zone 9

annew

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Re: Growing Narcissus: Help!
« Reply #2 on: May 31, 2009, 10:07:04 PM »
I confirm Leslie's advice. I also advise you to read back through Ian Young's bulb logs, where you will find much more help, and inspiration too!
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Anne Wright, Dryad Nursery, Yorkshire, England

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JPB

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Re: Growing Narcissus: Help!
« Reply #3 on: June 03, 2009, 08:22:17 AM »
Thanks for your help, but that's exactly what I did. I consulted Ian Young's bulblog and I did in general grew them by his guidelines. I must be doing something wrong but I still have no clue. Next week, I will start to raise some species from seed; hopefully that will be better.

Cheers,
HAns
NE part of The Netherlands. Hardiness zone 7/8

Luc Gilgemyn

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Re: Growing Narcissus: Help!
« Reply #4 on: June 03, 2009, 09:06:15 AM »
Hans,
Being "neighbours" we must have somewhat similar conditions.

As you, I have no problems growing all Bulbocodiums and their relatives out in the open.  Totally different for cantabricus, albidus or romieuxii types though...  I've tried them outside and they 'survive' - I have even had some flowers on occasion in the season following a hot, dry Summer - but in general they don't feel happy.
I now grow them in pots - leave them outside for the best part of the year but get them inside during prolonged frost in Winter and... during Summer (June to September) when they are kept bone dry !
They seem to enjoy these conditions - flower well and multiply at a good rate.

Good luck
Luc Gilgemyn
Harelbeke - Belgium

Gerry Webster

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Re: Growing Narcissus: Help!
« Reply #5 on: June 03, 2009, 12:39:55 PM »
Hans - I grow them exactly like Luc, in pots. They flower regularly & increase.  The potting mix I use is a version of that suggested by the late Kath Dryden:  1 part John Innes no 3 : 2 parts peat/fine bark : 1 part Perlite. Rob Potterton on this forum recently suggested a simpler mix: John Innes no 2 + 20% grit. I don't know whether John Innes is available in the Netherlands; it is 7 parts loam : 3 parts peat : 2 parts grit + fertiliser. I use Vitax Q4 at 5 gms per litre.
Gerry passed away  at home  on 25th February 2021 - his posts are  left  in the  forum in memory of him.
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JPB

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Re: Growing Narcissus: Help!
« Reply #6 on: June 04, 2009, 09:21:49 AM »
Unfortunately, I do not have John Innes mix in Holland and don't see a way of obtaining it here. And good loam is a problem too (Luc, loam is leem?), as the loam i have is so fine that it become like concrete once dried out. Instead i use good peat-based potting soil with some clay added. I mix it with coarse sand and/or perlite and/or lava grit. I grew them in pots outside, inside, wetter, drier and still no growth. Even then, bulbs do not seem happy and shed their leaves early in spring or rot away in may of june before I put them in a dry summer rest.

I have the same problems with other bulbs from dry/mediterranean climates. For instance with Pancratium and Gladiolus, although they are doing a little better. Still far from big flowering sized bulbs. On the other hand, Scilla's (f.i. S. latifolia, S. autumnalis) are not a problem at all.... ???

My guess is that the soil-mixure, indeed, is the culprit and possibly fertilizer (although I use a good one with low nitrogen in a "weakly-weekly" regime).


NE part of The Netherlands. Hardiness zone 7/8

Luc Gilgemyn

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Re: Growing Narcissus: Help!
« Reply #7 on: June 04, 2009, 10:02:37 AM »
Hans !
Yes, loam = leem - and when I read your story, the only reason I can think of for not being succesful must be soil mixture.
I don't think any of these N. species likes the acidity of a peat based compost and even less it's capability for holding moisture...

John Innes is not available anywhere on the continent, I solved the problem by bringing some home from the UK when I visit the AGS shows...  8)

If you cannot get hold of any J.I. I would suggest to add far more drainage material (50 %) and replace part of the peat based potting  compost by some of your (fine) loam anyway.
When you stop watering at the end of the growing season and let the pots dry out, I don't think it matters that it turns to more or less concrete.  On the contrary, I think the bulbs like it !
When I repot (end of July- August) the contents of my pots is bonedry and almost rockhard but I can easily retrieve the bulbs from it.  Than I repot in a fresh identical mix (50% grit + 50 % J.I. n° 2 with some added bonemeal)and don't water until mid September (when Ian also applies his first rainstorm  ;D).
Also according to Ian's recipy they get some potash (also hard to find in the pure form out here - but I use "patentkali") immediately after flowering.
Luc Gilgemyn
Harelbeke - Belgium

annew

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Re: Growing Narcissus: Help!
« Reply #8 on: June 04, 2009, 02:52:49 PM »
That is good advice. Also, you might try putting the bulbs in a layer of coarse sand halfway down the pot, as I do. This will help to stop rotting of the bulbs.
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Lesley Cox

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Re: Growing Narcissus: Help!
« Reply #9 on: June 04, 2009, 09:29:18 PM »
I agree with Luc that by using a peat based compost, you are working against success before you even plant the bulbs. I would only use peat (actually, I never do) for woodland bulbs such as erythronium, the creeping anemones, trilliums etc.
Lesley Cox - near Dunedin, lower east coast, South Island of New Zealand - Zone 9

Gerry Webster

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Re: Growing Narcissus: Help!
« Reply #10 on: June 04, 2009, 11:36:06 PM »
I agree with Luc that by using a peat based compost, you are working against success before you even plant the bulbs. I would only use peat (actually, I never do) for woodland bulbs such as erythronium, the creeping anemones, trilliums etc.
Kath Dryden (Alpines In Pots, AGS Handbooks, 1988)  recommended a peat + grit/perlite compost (3 : 1) for NN asturiensis, cyclamineus, triandrus & watieri. I use this & it works. I have never tried it with hoop-petticoats. For these, together with Jonquillae, Apodanthae & various others I use Kath's  JI based mix as given in my previous post.
Gerry passed away  at home  on 25th February 2021 - his posts are  left  in the  forum in memory of him.
His was a long life - lived well.

JPB

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Re: Growing Narcissus: Help!
« Reply #11 on: June 06, 2009, 03:51:48 PM »
I already tried to make a peat-less mixture from sand, perlite, Seramis, lava-grit but it didn't work either.
From your responses it clear that I simply need good loam or John Innes.... Both not available here in Holland as far as I know.

Many thanks for the replies to all! At least I have a clue for my problem..

Cheers,
Hans
 
NE part of The Netherlands. Hardiness zone 7/8

David Nicholson

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Re: Growing Narcissus: Help!
« Reply #12 on: June 06, 2009, 06:54:26 PM »
Hans it must be very frustrating not being able to get hold of loam or JI composts. If you can get hold of some turf (maybe from someone who is taking up a lawn) you could stack it and let it rot down. After rotting just shake it through a sieve and you have the basis for a reasonable compost. It only needs the addition of some peat, and, if your soil is not sandy enough, some sharp sand and grit and a bit of fertiliser.
David Nicholson
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gote

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Re: Growing Narcissus: Help!
« Reply #13 on: December 18, 2009, 09:48:30 AM »
This is maybe too late to be read but I have the following comments:
John innes is a mixture of loam, sand and peat with some fertilizing added. the formula should be available on the net somewhere.
It is not too difficult to mix it at home the problematic ingredience is the loam that really should be sterilized by steam.
I have never tried sterilizing and many things grow reasonably well without it. Sterilizing can also be a risky process creating unwanted byproducts.
Loam is really clay that has been converted by biological action; be it grass roots, cultivated crops, voles or moles. (Or Aegpodium podagria)
The countries that border on the North Sea are generally very sandy with not so much clay so it will not be abundant everywhere.
The amounts needed for pot mixtures are not very large so it would not be too difficult to transport.
The solution might be to find a friendly farmer on clay soil and ask him for help. He might be willing to part with some mole hills or some weed infested turf.
The right stuff is very crumbly / grainy and will fall off a lifted turf when shaken. (but not stirred - the grainy structure must be preserved.)
Good luck
Göte

 
   
Göte Svanholm
Mid-Sweden

 


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