Divide and Conquer

I have a lovely stand of Mailbox Pink Crinums in my side garden. (So named because the gardening friend who gifted them to me had them planted by her mailbox and she had no earthly idea what variety they really were.) I first planted this set of beds ten years ago and it is certainly grown into a welcoming place.

However, despite all the welcoming feelings, this past year I noticed a snake in the midst of my perfect paradise. (This actually literally happened, but I’m only speaking metaphorically for the moment.) My bulbs were in desperate need of more space. Since that meant that either I needed to dig up the Desert Willow and relocate it — or divide the bulbs, I picked the latter.

  • Outline the area. I used my shovel to put a line in the dirt around the area where the bulbs currently reside. This is more difficult than you might think when you have five different varieties of bulbs in one spot. Hint: Crinums are the big ones; narcissus are the small ones.
  • Decide how large a space you want the final clump to cover.
  • Dig up your bulbs. Some sources tell you to pull everything, some say just the outside areas. I pulled them all.
  • Amend your soil while you’ve got the space. I use compost from my pile plus a little organic fertilizer such as pelleted chicken manure or cottonseed meal.
  • Replace as many bulbs as will comfortably fit into the space you want your future clump to fill.
  • Pot up the rest. Share the wealth with friends.

Once the freezes are over, we can all exchange as many starts as we want! If you’re in Houston and want some of the Mailbox Pink Crinum, let me know.

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