FUN SUMMER BULBS TO TRY ... BY GLADYS JEURINK
Calla Lilies are tender
(hardiness zone 8 plus) in Lincoln and Central Nebraska so you must dig
them, or better yet, plant in a pot and then bring pot and all into a
building in the fall. My garage is insulated so they, and many other
plants, do well in there. A
light frost will kill the foliage so you can cut it off.
Plants in pots outside are easily damaged by wind so put them in
a sheltered spot. The leaves of the Calla
Lily are so large they can be torn easily. They will do well in a
part shade area.
The flowers are
big and different looking as the colored part is a spadix which means
the bloom is inside and long and narrow.
They are used in florist’s arrangements and in many bouquets.
The big white ones are often used for weddings. The cut flower
will last for a number of days.
The bulbs like
warm soil in order to start. If
you need them early use a heat mat under small pots filled with potting
mix. Cover the bulbs very lightly and they will be ready to set out in
the ground after the soil temperature reaches 60 degrees F. (Consult
your County Extension Office for a soil temperature report.) Since many
gardeners have never planted them you may have to hunt this spring in
the Garden Center or catalogs. They
also like moist soil and some of the big white ones will grow near your
lily pond if their feet are wet.
that I see very little in Lincoln is the ‘Peruvian Daffodil’. They
are tender in Nebraska (hardiness zone 8) but they are easy to plant and
easy to dig as you only put them deep enough to cover the bulb with its
neck sticking out. They are the fastest to bloom after planting of any
bulb I have ever had. In less than a month after planting.
spider lily, or basket flower, they have white flowers on a long slender
stalk (up to 2 feet). The leaves are large and long, all coming out from
the base which may be 2 feet long, creating a vase like plant. Flowers
are 5 to 6 inches across in a waxy white with showy yellow stamens.
They are very often found in florist’s arrangements as you can
plant them over a period of time to have continuous blooms.
They also fit in potted arrangements as the leaves are handsome
after the bloom is gone. I
dig mine after the first light frost, shake the soil loose, cut off the
tops and store them in vermiculite in the basement.
Each fall I have one and one-half times as many bulbs as I
planted in the spring.
The best time
to plant these is in the fall but you may find some potted ones at the
Garden Center in the spring. I have them coming up all over in the shady
spots. I remove the red
head of soft beads, strip them from the stalk and toss under a bush or
behind (north side) of a plant or building. The red head is “Jack”
himself. When he finishes his sermon, seeds form which are bright red
and interestingly arranged in rows on the stalk.
The seeds like damp soil so throw them where you can keep them
thing about him/her is that if it has been a good year, and lots of food
is made, next spring the plant will be a girl and produce the seeds that
need that food. A one leaf plant will be a boy, and a two leaf plant a
girl. If you are planning on planting the seeds next spring, put the
cluster in a jar with some damp sphagnum moss and put in your
refrigerator, not the freezer, for at least 60 days.
There are some
rare Japanese Jacks with fancy hoods. These bulbs may cost up to $30.00
each. Then there are other varieties that are much less expensive with
huge, white balloon pulpits. I also have one kind, whose name I don’t know, spreads
rapidly. I even had Jack’s come up in the lawn last spring, so last
fall I dug up two thirds of the patch.
The Jack we
usually grow in our garden is Arisaema
triphyllum and may grow as high as three feet in a good year. The triphyllum
in the name tells you that the leaf is in three parts.
The hood is a spathe (also known as the pulpit). Plants tend to
die down during the hottest weather we have here in Nebraska. The Native
Americans dug the corm and baked or dried it. They were earlier known as
Indian turnips. Be careful as the roots, stems, and leaves contain
calcium oxalate that will burn you mouth if you try to eat them raw.
have fun in your garden and try something new. Maybe you will want to
try an unusual summer bulb.
For more information
consult your County Extension Office or go on the internet to http://ianrhome.unl.edu/search.
Scroll the top box down to extension and in the second box type in the
name of the plant, tree, shrub, disease, insect, or bulb. A list of
Extension Publications will be listed that you can print for free. Also
available at this web site are publications on how to harvest, prepare,
and store you garden produce. Another good website is http://lancaster.unl.edu.
Click on Gardening to access many fine articles and links to other good
Copyright April 9, 2005