Flower Blasting

>> Wednesday, April 16, 2008

A new term to add to my ever increasing garden vocabulary.

It seems that if a bulb sends up a flower stalk that results in a misshapen flower or an aborted flower, then flower “blasting” may be the reason. These two examples, the daffodil on the left and the daylily below, illustrate deformities that could be caused by any of several reasons. Improper storage of the bulbs, late planting, inadequate or excessive moisture, sudden temperature changes, or viruses.

I have had bulbs send up leaves without any flowers, but that is because the bulbs have multiplied and the space has become too crowded for them. Simply dig them up and divide them and they will all bloom next year. Providing, of course, they don’t get “blasted” in some way.

In daffodils, bud blast is most common in late-blooming and double-flowered cultivars. There are blast-resistant double-flowered daffodils such as 'Meeting', 'Sir Winston Churchill', and 'Tahiti'. In addition, 'Baby Moon', 'Grace Note', 'Geranium', and most of the poeticus varieties are late-blooming daffodils that are also blast resistant, according to the American Daffodil Society.

I have read about studies involving irrigation, mulching, and shading to either prove or disprove that late freezes, inadequate moisture, and wet autumns are responsible, but they have all come up as inconclusive.

Late planting is probably has the most likely reason because bulbs don’t have enough time to form an adequate root system before they bloom.

You can more easily tell if a virus is causing the problem because color streaking occurs in both the flower and the leaves. These bulbs should be lifted and discarded immediately.

I had never thought to investigate why this happens, I just wrote it off as a probability factor given so many flowers bloom without problem. It just seems you will eventually have a mutation.

Now as to why this daisy freak happened, it is probably a virus or bacteria. It does look pretty cool though.


lisa April 25, 2008 at 2:58 PM  

I'm glad you posted this! I have two "freaks" that I'd always wondered about: this daylily, and this annual , and thanks to you, I have some ideas!

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