Greg Lawrence

Greg Lawrence on Scaling bulbs

This article describes a demonstration by Greg Lawrence at our June 2021 AGM meeting.

For many years, Greg teamed up with Jeff Boden, growing liliums on Greg's Summertown property. Both have now moved closer into the city now, but neither is willing to give up growing and showing how to grow stunning bulbs.

General scaling and dividing information

Lilium bulbs can be multiplied by ‘scaling’ and this method is useful to increase numbers of special or expensive bulbs.
Best results come from bulbs scaled in March while the soil is still warm but any time from Autumn through to late winter is fine if the scales can be kept inside to strike.
Pull scale out from the bulb and twist sideways to snap as close to the base as possible.
The wider the base of the scale the more bulblets can grow.
Moisten the scale in liquid rooting hormone. (Plant Starter by Maxicrop)
Place scales in plastic bag with sphagnum moss, cut into short lengths and moistened with the following recipe. Squeeze excess liquid out to be just moist with no drips. Shake to mix with the moss and seal the bag.

………………………………………………

Starting solution.

To half a litre of water add 1 teaspoon of each of the following:

  • Seaweed solution (Seasol)
  • Plant starter (Rooting hormone solution)
  • ½ teaspoon of Proplant fungicide (it used to be called Previcur) Optional because sphagnum moss has natural fungicide properties) Proplant can also help to control viruses.
  • ¼ teaspoon of Epsom salts
  • 1 tsp Fish fertilizer (power feed or Charlie Carp) can be added but sometimes causes rot.
This solution can also be used to presoak seeds for 24 hours before planting.
Other mediums such as shredded paper, sawdust, coir and peatmoss all work if sphagnum is not available.

When taking a lot of scales Greg has used a sealed poly box with a light and thermostat to give an even temperature to start bulblets.
Bulblets become visible in 6 to 8 weeks.
Plant scales with bulblets out in the ground or pots. Place the whole scale in loose soil with just the tip of the scale above soil level. Mix standard potting mix with Orchid mix or 10mil pine bark, add charcoal and sand.
Feed with weak fertilizer when shoots emerge from the ground.
Scales come in various sizes and some of these can produce a single bloom in one year, others take three seasons to bloom.
Orientals and orienpets usually take three years to bloom and are not as hardy as Asiatics and trumpets. Orientals like cold once bulblets have formed.
After taking scales leave the remaining bulb to dry out for a week before replanting. It can be dusted with dusting sulphur to help prevent rot. The parent bulb will bloom next season. Bags can be placed on the back of the fridge where it is warm to strike.

Zantedeschia (Calla lilies)
Dig tubers when foliage dies down, Winter is best. Bulbs can start rotting on top, this can be washed off and leave tuber to dry before dividing. Every cutting must have an eye to be viable.
Roots form on the top of the tuber around the eye, the bottom is smooth. Knobs can form around the tuber, these can be cut off and the large tuber can be cut into sections, each with an eye.
Dry each cut with a paper towel and leave to dry for a week before planting in well drained soil with the eye facing up. Dusting sulphur can be used to prevent rot.
Too much fertilizer when growing encourages black aphids. Phosphorus and Nitrogen make weaker plants, Potassium hardens them. Bulbs like calcium, dolomite is the best source.

Greg Lawrence on scaling bulbs

Greg Lawrence


This article describes a demonstration by Greg Lawrence at our June 2021 AGM meeting.

For many years, Greg teamed up with Jeff Boden, growing liliums on Greg's Summertown property. Both have now moved closer into the city now, but neither is willing to give up growing and showing how to grow stunning bulbs.

General scaling and dividing information

Lilium bulbs can be multiplied by ‘scaling’ and this method is useful to increase numbers of special or expensive bulbs.
Best results come from bulbs scaled in March while the soil is still warm but any time from Autumn through to late winter is fine if the scales can be kept inside to strike.
Pull scale out from the bulb and twist sideways to snap as close to the base as possible.
The wider the base of the scale the more bulblets can grow.
Moisten the scale in liquid rooting hormone. (Plant Starter by Maxicrop)
Place scales in plastic bag with sphagnum moss, cut into short lengths and moistened with the following recipe. Squeeze excess liquid out to be just moist with no drips. Shake to mix with the moss and seal the bag.

The following solution is what I use to moisten sphagnum moss for multiplying Lilium bulbs using the scaling method. 
To half a litre of water add 1 teaspoon of each of the following

• Seaweed solution (Seasol)
• Plant starter (Rooting hormone solution)
• ½ teaspoon of Proplant fungicide (it used to be called Previcur) Optional because sphagnum moss has natural fungicide properties) Proplant can also help to control viruses.
• ¼ teaspoon of Epsom salts
• 1 tsp Fish fertilizer (power feed or Charlie Carp) can be added but sometimes causes rot.


Add this solution to the sphagnum moss until it is just moist. 
The right amount of moisture is when it is squeezed hard no more liquid comes out.

This solution can also be used to presoak seeds for 24 hours before planting.
Other mediums such as shredded paper, sawdust, coir and peatmoss all work if sphagnum is not available.
Bags can be placed on the back of the fridge where it is warm to strike. When taking a lot of scales Greg has used a sealed poly box with a light and thermostat to give an even temperature to start bulblets.

Bulblets become visible in 6 to 8 weeks.
Plant scales with bulblets out in the ground or pots. Place the whole scale in loose soil with just the tip of the scale above soil level. Mix standard potting mix with Orchid mix or 10mm pine bark, add charcoal and sand.
Feed with weak fertilizer when shoots emerge from the ground.
Scales come in various sizes and some of these can produce a single bloom in one year, others take three seasons to bloom.

Orientals and orienpets usually take three years to bloom and are not as hardy as Asiatics and trumpets. Orientals like cold once bulblets have formed.
After taking scales leave the remaining bulb to dry out for a week before replanting. It can be dusted with dusting sulphur to help prevent rot. The parent bulb will bloom next season.

Zantedeschia (Calla lilies)
Dig tubers when foliage dies down, Winter is best. Bulbs can start rotting on top, this can be washed off and leave tuber to dry before dividing. Every cutting must have an eye to be viable.
Roots form on the top of the tuber around the eye, the bottom is smooth. Knobs can form around the tuber, these can be cut off and the large tuber can be cut into sections, each with an eye.
Dry each cut with a paper towel and leave to dry for a week before planting in well drained soil with the eye facing up. Dusting sulphur can be used to prevent rot.
Too much fertilizer when growing encourages black aphids. Phosphorus and Nitrogen make weaker plants, Potassium hardens them. Bulbs like calcium, dolomite is the best source.