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Freesias and calla lilies

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Question: Why don't my plants bloom?

I have freesias but for some years (even with luxuriant foliage) they have only given me 3 or 4 flowers. The same applies to the calle. Answer me thanks


Freesias and calla lilies: Answer: growing bulbous plants

Dear Anna,

plants that produce bulbs, rhizomes, tubers, as everyone knows, use these modified organs to store nutrients; these substances, in the form of starches or other sugars, and mineral salts, are used the following year to be able to produce flowers, since flowering, and the consequent fruiting, are events that require large energy costs for the plants.

The reasons why a bulbous plant stops blooming, or the number of flowers decreases from year to year, are linked precisely to the availability of these nutrients: if they are few or scarce, the flowers will be few or zero.

How do you facilitate the storage of nutrients by a bulbous or rhizomatous plant?

Plants produce nutrients through chlorophyll photosynthesis, therefore it is essential to cultivate the leaves of our bulbous plants at best, avoiding to prune them when the plant has just stopped blooming; the practice of pruning the foliage of the bulbous plants deprives us, year after year, of ever greater flowers, as we leave the plant little time to practice photosynthesis, and therefore to produce nutrients and therefore to store sufficient resources for the flowering of the 'next year. The leaves are then watered, fertilized and left to grow until they begin to dry out on their own.

Another reason why this does not happen can also be linked to the soil in which the plants are grown, which may be excessively low in mineral salts; or, especially if you keep your bulbs in pots, it could be that over the years the rhizomes of the calla lilies have widened excessively, or the freesias could have produced lateral bulbils: in an overly crowded ground, the competition is excessive, and the result is total lack of blooms, since there would still be no room for the new bulbs produced by the seeds.

So if you grow your bulbs in pots, they may need a repotting, to enlarge them, providing more space for each bulb, but also to provide new fresh potting soil.

Another reason linked to the scarce flowering could be linked to the climate: the bulbous or rhizomatous plants often need a period of winter vegetative rest in order to be able to bloom at their best; at the same time, late frosts, when the plants are already budding, can ruin future buds and cause the absence of flowers.

In winter, bulbous and rhizomatous plants should be left without water and fertilizer, so that they enter vegetative rest until spring; if grown indoors, in an excessively hot climate, flowering is unlikely to occur the following year.

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