Growing Ranunculus Bulbs and Other Bulbs
Growing Ranunculus Bulbs
There are three main groups: French, Persian and Turban, and Turkey or paeony-flowering, of which the last mentioned are increasingly grown as outdoor crops in mild districts. They also lend themselves to protected cropping, as this ensures better flower quality.
Planting times can vary from early and mid-summer for autumn flowering with cloche or mobile greenhouse protection, until early autumn for late winter to late spring flowering in the greenhouse. Ranunculus can also be planted in well preparedin early/mid-spring with the cover of a mobile greenhouse, to flower out of doors in the summer. The roots are planted with their claws downwards, 15cm (6in) apart and 2.5-5cm (1-2in) deep, and after flowering the tuberous roots are lifted and dried for furture planting. They can also be grown in deep boxes or pots, but care must be taken that they do not dry out.
Schizostylis (Kaffir lily)
Schizostylis coccinea, a native of South Africa, and its two main varieties, ‘Miss Hegarty’ (early) and ‘Viscountess Byng’ (late), are tender bulbs grown on a limited scale in the greenhouse. They are propagated by division in spring when 3-4 shooted clumps should be put in 22.5— 25cm (9-10in) pots with John Innes Potting Compost No 1 or 2. Given plenty of water they will flower in the winter months.
These South African plants, S. grandiflora and S. tricola, are planted in late autumn in greenhouse borders, 10cm (4in) apart and 10cm (4in) deep, in good soil, where they will flower in the spring.
There are several other bulbs which can be grown superbly under protection. These are as follows:
This is the well-known herbaceous plant which has recently been grown under protection to produce earlier and more continuous blooms. The rhizomes are best established in pots before being planted out 30 x 30cm (12 x 12in) spacing or thereabouts in reasonable soil. They are an aggressive plant once established and can eventually take up a lot of room.
For cut bloom these are usually grown in large pots, being propagated from offsets and repotted every second year, being top dressed with well rotted manure in the intervening year. They can also be spaced out in borders at 30 x 30cm (12 x 12in). They are a very ‘dirty’ plant, invariably attacked with aphids and red spider which then spread to other crops.
Amaryllis (Bella Donna lily)
These have become very popular in recent years as house plants. They can be grown from seed which is slow to develop, or from offsets taken from the parent bulbs. They are best potted or planted in borders in the Spring. For cut blooms.
Grown from seed sown in late summer to produce bulbs for planting the following early autumn in beds or pots to flower the following Spring, or alternatively imported bulbs can be planted in early spring to flower in the Autumn. They are useful and attractive cut.
These have enjoyed mixed fortunes under protection due to the prevalence of disease. They are best planted in borders in reasonably good soil early in the year at 10 x 10cm (4 x 4in) spacing, selecting special varieties for indoor flowering.
These are grown in a similar manner to freesias.
These are grown from seed or from bulbs taken from cold store in succession. They make very attractive indoor flowers.