This third part of the series is related with plants that grow from bulbs. These include orchids, tulips and most varieties of lilies. These are all plants that produce beautiful flowers and are expensive in most places. You will now learn how to buy one plant and multiply it into many of them. The technique is similar to that used in Part Two so it will not be a problem for you. You must be very careful when doing this because these plants are not as sturdy as green tropical plants but when this technique is applied properly you will get the same results, beautiful plants.
Now in this case we have different kinds of plants that live in different environments. Tulips and lilies can be planted out doors or in pots, orchids are parasites and they live off trees and other plants. Orchids are usually grown on old pieces of wood, wood chips or other similar materials, they also enjoy fresh places with indirect sunlight. Tulips and lilies love to grow under the sun as long as they have plenty of water. For all practical purposes, the technique is the same for all of them.
These species differ from other plants in that between the roots and the leaves, they do not have a stem, they have a large, engrossed structure where they store food and water for to be used during hard times. When the plant matures and starts to flower, smaller bulbs grow attached to the main one, these will eventually grow into new plants but will remain attached to the original plant. If there is enough room, good soil, plenty of water and light they will grow indefinitely without separating.
Let us start with the lilies and the tulips because they are grown in dirt, be it in a pot or in a permanent spot in your garden. The instructions are the same for both plants so all you have to do is repeat the process in either case. If you are planting them in the ground or in pots, you will need plenty of fresh dirt, pots, a shovel (if in the garden), a sharp knife and pair of scissors. When in the garden, using the shovel make a five inch circle around the plant, burrowing it as deep as possible. After the circle is complete, using the shovel pry the plant out of the ground, do this by moving the shovel around in the circle and pushing the plant upwards.
When the plant comes loose, remove it and take it to your work table. By gently removing the dirt from the bulb you will soon see smaller bulbs which have leaves coming out the top. Find the biggest ones that show the best leaf growth and gently remove them from the root knot separating from the main bulb. Take the scissors and remove about one inch from the root tips. Keep them out of direct sunlight until they are ready to be planted. You can remove as many bulbs as you want, as long as they are fat and the leafs look healthy and strong.
When you have all you want and have also picked the spot where the young ones will live in your garden, start digging. The holes must be three times the width of the bulbs and a bit longer so some fresh dirt can be put in the bottom of the hole. Add the new dirt to the hole and spread the roots evenly over it, start filling it making sure you compact the dirt around the bulb and roots. It is extremely important that when you are done, the top two or three centimeters of the bulb are above ground so the plant will gain strength and start growing faster. The same procedure applies to plants that will be potted. Always chose pots that will allow your plants to grow comfortably for some time, even though they may look small and insignificant at first, rest assured that in no time they grow filling up the space in the pot.
Like I said before, orchids are parasites which feed off other plants, most varieties are not too keen to living in the dirt. They prefer moss covered branches wood chips to live in. Go though the same process mentioned above removing the smaller bulbs from the larger ones. Again make sure that they are healthy and growing plenty of green on the top. Do not remove the large plant from its habitat and do not cut its anchor roots, its feeding roots are inside the medium in which it is growing and it will be hard for it to anchor itself again. If the plant is flowering at the time you split it, remove the flowers, they will spend energy and food that will be needed to grow new roots and enlarge the bulb.
The new plants need some help to anchor themselves in the chosen medium, remember most of their food came from the larger plant. If you have chosen a branch or piece of old wood for them to live in, spread the roots as evenly as possible and wrapped them up with a light cloth that will allow air to circulate but will also retain water.
Wrap them as tightly as possible making sure that most of them are in direct contact with the surface of the wood. If you have chosen wood chips, bury the roots evenly in the chips covering them with the same type of cloth but adding some gravel on top that will keep the roots pressured against the wood chips, this will help them to attach to the medium faster.
Water them normally adding some plant food to the water, this will keep them well until they start feeding through the medium you have decided to use. Orchids must be kept away from direct sunlight and in well ventilated places. Orchids need fresh air and a breeze to be happy, they also enjoy a daily mist of water which is absorbed directly by the leafs. Of the three species mentioned above, orchids may be the hardest to work with, this does not mean it can’t be done, it just means you have to work slowly and follow the given instructions. This is the end of Part Three, enjoy your new plants and remember they are living creatures and need your love and care.