Starvation and stunting

OK, enough of the frivolity.  This is serious.  This is practical.

Check out this pic.  It compares three pots of the Lilium formosanum I wrote about last week.  They were all sown at the same time.

The smallest of plants (in the medium sized pot) are still in the pot in which they were sown about 2.5 years ago, and while I gave them the occasional liquid feed last year, they’ve been largely neglected this growing season. The plant in the middle was potted up into a tube from its seedling pot at the beginning of last summer into decent, nourishing potting mix, and fed occasionally that year – then not fed again this summer. The largest pot contains four plants there were potted on at the same time as the last, but then were potted on again from this second stage once they were about 150mm tall in spring this year, and into a potting mix with plenty of slow-release plant food.

Just goes to show what starvation and cramping will do to stunt growth.

But what really surprised me was how stout the stems of the plants in the biggest pot grew, even though they were potted on long after they’d shot into growth.  I have this sense that the performance of most bulbs in any season is largely restricted to the growth they experienced the year before – that if they’re looking feeble, no amount of love and care will noticeably change things until the following season.  Not so with these liliums.  The grew stout, strong and tall, almost immediately upon being potted on.


  1. The question I have Michael is what those lilies were doing in that little black plastic pot for two and a half years? That variety of procrastination sounds like the kind of gardening I’m guilty of, not what I imagine from you! Tell me, what glories did you have planned for them, that didn’t quite come to pass?

    1. I did it in the interests of experimentation, for the enlightenment of my readership. I would never, otherwise, treat any living thing with such cruelty…
      As for glories planned – they will yet come to pass. Check this blog sometime around March 2016 for the result

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