It is now a well-established fact that cool storage of Easter lily bulbs before planting greatly reduces the time required to bring them into bloom.
Here at the Plant Industry Station, United States Department of Agriculture in Beltsville, Maryland, a recently conducted experiment demonstrated that certain garden lilies could be made to flower more quickly by the same means.
The lily varieties used in this experiment were the following:
- JOAN EVANS
The bulbs were grown in Oregon, and 100 of each were received at Beltsville on October 24, 1951.
Bulbs Planted In Greenhouse
Ten bulbs of each variety were planted in the greenhouse at once, and the remaining 90 were divided into three lots of 30 each.
A lot of each variety was stored at each of the following temperatures: 31°, 40°, and 50° degrees Fahrenheit.
On November 30, after 37 days of storage, 10 bulbs of each variety were removed from each storage and temperature lot and planted in the greenhouse.
Second Group of Bulbs
A second group of -bulbs was removed and planted on January 14, and the third on February 25.
We hoped to have some of these lilies in bloom for the Washington, D. C., Flower Show held from March 6-12.
About the middle of February, we saw that some of the plants would be in flower too early for the show.
The Temperature in a Greenhouse
Some of these were moved from a warm (60° degrees Fahrenheit night temperature) to a cold (45° to 55° degrees Fahrenheit) greenhouse where flowering was retarded; the plants were in fine condition for the show.
The results of this experiment demonstrated that these varieties performed much better when the bulbs were given cold storage.
The 10 bulbs planted at once did not flower, on average, until March 28; those stored 37 days at the three temperatures, 31°, 40°, and 50° degrees Fahrenheit, all bloomed at about the same time, on February 19.
Those bulbs stored for 82 days and planted on January 14 flowered from March 20 to 27.
The last lots, planted on February 25 after 124 days of storage, were just starting to flower in late April and finished about May 10.
The quality of the flowers and plants was much improved by cold storage of the bulbs, and the flower yield was greater following storage at 31° and 40° degrees Fahrenheit.
The bulbs stored at 30° degrees Fahrenheit produced about the same number of flowers as those given no pre-planting storage.
44659 by S. L. Emsweller