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Proceedings of the International Plant Propagator's Society

Vol. 53

Temperate Treatment of Flower Bulbs: Manipulating Flowering Times

Paul Vonk

pp: 50-52


In order to understand how the flowering time of bulbs can be manipulated, it is critical to comprehend that bulbs are perennials, and that their life cycle is generated by temperature. Our discussion here is limited to winter bulbs, and they are named thus as they require cold temperature to activate their flowering cycle.

Manipulating Flowering Time. If a commercial grower were to be totally dependent on nature's built-in clock in bulbs, he/she would be forced to flood the market with his/her whole crop of tulip (Tulipa sp.) blooms during a single week in spring-time and so depress the market price to a catastrophic level. No grower of tulips would survive. This problem cannot be solved by simply planting the tulip bulb earlier or later in autumn, because the bulb is too clever to fall for this trick. It will stubbornly catch up if it is planted too late, or slow down if it is planted too early. It will still flower in that same week in springtime.

In order to fool the

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