Issue: November 8, 2003

Flowers for June wedding

Question:

Would you please tell me what flowers (bulbs) bloom in late May or early June? My son is getting married on June 5, 2004, and I was hoping that I could plant bulbs that would bloom at that time.

Answer:

The plants that come to mind are daylilies, irises, and perhaps true lilies. Of course, there are others. Is there a reason you want bulb plants? Most of the bulb plants will produce a spectacular display of flowers and then stop flowering. If they flower early or late (depending on variety and weather), you will have a poor flower display on the date you need the flowers.

Annuals (cosmos, zinnias, marigolds, etc.) can be planted in the spring and will be in full bloom by June. The annuals will flower steadily for months, so I would think of the annuals as plants that I could trust to be in bloom at the time necessary. Perhaps a mixture of the bulbs and annuals will give you the best results.

For information specific to you location, contact your local Cooperative Extension Service office or local garden club.

Early blooming Christmas cactus

Question:

My Christmas cactus has already bloomed! What happened?

Answer:

Some of the relatives of the Christmas cactus are called Thanksgiving cactus and will bloom earlier. Since it is well before Thanksgiving Day, you still have a valid question.

Your plant may indeed be one that blooms earlier and, if stressed slightly for water or given cool temperatures, it can bloom out of season. I have heard of Christmas cacti blooming in the late spring. Out-of-season-blooming is not impossible.

Did you forget to water your plants for a while? Are they in a room that is dark for long periods? Are they in a cool room? These are the conditions that can cause out-of-season blooming. These are the most likely factors to cause early blooming, but sometimes they just bloom early!

Amaryllis

Question:

I am keeping my amaryllis plants in a cool room that doesn't freeze. Is that all I need to do to get them to bloom in the winter?

Answer:

Cool temperatures alone may do the job, but drying in addition to the cooling is more likely to induce flowering. The bulbs must have received sufficient sunlight during the growing season so that there are adequate food reserves stored in the bulb to feed the development of flowers. If so, then treating the plant now by cooling (but not letting it freeze) and drying to the point that the leaves turn yellow and drop from the plant will stimulate flowering in the middle of the winter. Supply only enough water to keep the bulbs from shriveling after the leaves drop. Once new growth begins (often the bloom stalk develops first), gradually increase watering.

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Send gardening questions to Southwest Yard and Garden, Attn: Dr. Marisa Thompson at desertblooms@nmsu.edu or at https://www.facebook.com/DesertBloomsNM/. Please include your county Extension Agent (aces.nmsu.edu/county) and your county of residence with your question!

For more gardening information, visit the NMSU Extension Horticulture page: desertblooms@nmsu.edu.

Marisa Y. Thompson, PhD, is the Extension Horticulture Specialist, in the Department of Extension Plant Sciences at the New Mexico State University Los Lunas Agricultural Science Center, office: 505-865-7340, ext. 113.