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October 27, 2018

QuestionMy spring bulbs didn’t bloom very well last spring, and I think it is because they are too crowded.  Can I dig and divide them now so that they will bloom for me next spring? 



Unfortunately division now will not alter your flowers.  Spring bulbs set their flower buds after they finish blooming in the spring.  Once they die back in the late spring the flowers (or lack thereof) are already set for the following years show.  Digging and dividing now would not alter this year’s blooms, and it might be a little tricky to find the bulbs since you don’t have any growth to help determine where the bulbs are.  You may accidently damage the bulbs digging them blind.  I would suggest waiting until the foliage appears this winter before you dig, divide and replant, or you can do so immediately after they bloom (or should have bloomed) next spring.   Whether you divide before or after bloom, it won’t alter this year’s flowers but given more room to grow and ample sunlight this spring, you should get good blooms the following spring.



March 25, 2017

QuestionI have some tulips, old fashioned day lilies and irises (what I grew up calling flags) that need to be thinned out ... when is the right time to thin all of these?  I live in Conway.



If your old-fashioned tulips re-bloom every year and they are too crowded, divide them as soon as the flowers start to fade and let the foliage persist as long as possible after bloom. Most of the new tulip varieties are usually treated as annuals since they don’t bloom well the second year.  Tulips are one of the last spring bulbs to bloom and the foliage often dies down quickly which doesn’t allow time to replenish flowers.  For daylilies, you can divide either spring as they emerge or fall as they are going dormant. If you know they are too crowded now, divide and replant and you should still see flowers this season.  For iris, the best time to divide is 6-8 weeks after bloom, which normally falls around the middle of July.  If iris are too crowded, they will not bloom well.


October 24, 2015

QuestionThe red "surprise" lilies that are in bloom now and have been for a week-the leaves come out of the ground at a different time--Question when do you dig and transplant them. I want to rescue some from an old abandon home place. The red flowers are on a single stem and the flowers are quite intricate in shape


AnswerThe red surprise lilies are Lycoris radiate.  Their foliage will appear soon after the blooms are finished and should remain intact throughout the winter.  In late spring, the foliage dies down and the bulbs remain dormant until early to mid-fall when the naked stem appears with the blooms, then the cycle repeats itself.  You can dig the bulbs when the foliage first appears in the fall or in the late spring as the leaves begin dying back.  Sometimes in a hard winter, the foliage does get damaged and we go a year without blooms.  They may also pay you back for moving them and not bloom for a year or two, but salvage some and see what happens


(May 2010)

QuestionI want to move some Iris's that are blooming now.  I want to know if I move them now, will they bloom next spring.  If not, when is the best time to move them?  I would like to move them while they are blooming so that I am sure what I am moving.


AnswerThe best time to move iris is six to eight weeks after they bloom.  Division and transplanting can be done at the same time.  I would try to flag them now with some type of marking system while in bloom so that you know what you are moving later.  If you move them too soon after bloom or during bloom, they won't die, but they may not bloom as well the next season, since they will be busy getting re-established and may not set flower buds.   Moving them after they set their flower buds should ensure good flowering again next season.

(February 2010)

QuestionCould you let me know the best time to transplant naked lady bulbs?


AnswerNaked ladies is the common name for Lycoris squamigera.  They form the pink, trumpet shaped blossoms in mid to late summer.  The other Lycoris commonly grown in Arkansas is L. radiata with the red spider like blooms, commonly called surprise lily or spider lily.  It blooms in late summer to early fall.  The naked lady foliage usually appears in the spring grows for a couple of months then dies back waiting for the naked stem with pink blooms in the summer.  They can be transplanted either when the foliage is up or as the flowers fade in the summer.  They may not bloom for a year or two after transplanting, but should rebound after that.


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