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What a mind-blower "plant experiment"! :


Last week I was browsing a few videos on organic gardening and unearthed one about “forcing bulbs”. I have never heard of such a thing so I watched this video from my plant guru and decided to try the technique because I already had a full 25LB bag of “lava-sand” just like the video suggested.

I picked up two identical bulbs from the local nursery to experiment with. What I wanted to do was to “force one bulb” in my lava-sand and plant the other one in a one gallon container using very rich organic potting soil and see which one would grow faster! The results after one week of this experiment have been MOST interesting to say the least!

Here is the bulb that was planted in the 1 gallon container:

This little guy has grown a little and looks very happy after a week. It has started a second growth from the top of the bulb and looks pretty good. I planted him just below the soil level and left the top 1/3 of the bulb exposed.
Both of have have been carefully watered to the base of the bulb.

The bulb that was being “forced” in the lava-sand was planted at exactly the same height with about 1/3 of the bulb top exposed. This is where the experiment started getting MOST interesting! It started LIFTING itself out of the lava-sand with its’ new root growth and now sits a full 10mm ABOVE the soil! Get a load of this photo:

Keep in mind that I planted this bulb with only the top 1/3 exposed and it has completely elevated itself by the roots in the course of only ONE week!
I have NO explanation for this type of bulb growth! The only thing that I deviated from the above video was that I watered the “forced bulb” with compost tea instead of raw water..
Here is a closeup of that wild looking root system that is raising the bulb out of the soil:

This just blows my mind and I cannot explain why that “forced bulb” wants to get out of that soil! The “green growth” out of the top of the bulb looks great as you can see here:

My concern is the exposure of the roots to fall temperatures, but the bulb is doing this on its’ own for some reason and I’ll be following it’s progress closely in the next few days!
I have NEVER seen anything like this and I’ll be taking photos and updating this blog about the progress of this bizarre bulb behavior!

Has anyone out there EVER seen something like this?

And to think, this started out as a simple “A-B bulb experiment”… {chuckle}

Plants are so cool! :-)

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That is amazing!!!! arn't plants clever :))

27 Nov, 2009


Do you think it's trying to escape, N2? LOL.

27 Nov, 2009


Well that's a mystery - a bit Edgar Allan Po ! Spooky.

27 Nov, 2009


the wet lava sand will be acting like cement. the roots are pushing down but the 'cement' is resisting and as a conseqnce the roots are growing but the bulb is lifting. Does that make sense? the other compost has more air spaces and places for the roots to grow into.

27 Nov, 2009


Interesting experiment, n2. I have never seen anything like this before; it looks as if the bulb is saying "I don't like this, get me out of here!" Whether Seaburn is correct or not I don't know; but it is a very plausable suggestion. Keep on with the experiment but be ready to give the plant some support when it starts growing leaves and flowers or it will fall over.

27 Nov, 2009


Bulbaholic, Seaburngirl raises an interesting point!
When I hydrated the lava sand, it compacted down by about 1/3 of its' volume and I had to add more. When it is barely moist, it is indeed like a cement slurry.

I will be closely watching the bulb to see what happens and if it starts to show any signs of distress from the experiment, such as an influx of predatory insects, leaf fungi, or foliage wilt, I will "bare root" it into super rich organically amended soil to save it. I just hate loosing any plant, even experimental ones!

Plants are SO fascinating to study and watch! :-)

28 Nov, 2009


So I was right - it iS trying to escape! Clever bulb. I'm glad to hear that you're ready to 'rescue' it, N2.

28 Nov, 2009


have a look at my latest blog on primula flower form. now that is clever. the plant not the blog :o)

28 Nov, 2009


Seaburngirl, I read the blog and that was awesome! I knew that some of my plants were "gene challenged", but never knew exactly WHY.
Brilliant blog and great documentation on the photos! WELL DONE!
------> Slapping his forehead! Wow, I learned something cool! {Big grin}

29 Nov, 2009


I agree, N2 - I like learning new things! It keeps our brains ticking over. :-)))

29 Nov, 2009


well thank you kind people. I cant help sharing these wonderful nature bits. i drive my children mad sometimes.

29 Nov, 2009


*** UPDATE***
The "rising bulb" needed a little intervention today!
Seaburngirl was exactly correct about the lava sand being a tad too compacted to allow root growth.
I gently pulled up on the bulb today and its' entire root system was only 1/2 of an inch deep in the sand. It had started loosing that vibrant green color that the other one in the pot had. I dug out a nice hole in the sand and replaced the bulb deeper so that all of the roots were in the moist slurry.
We'll see what happens in the next few days. If It continues to keep rising in the container, I'll just plant it in some good organic potting soil and let 'er rip! :-)

I may dry root the little guy into some expanded shale and see what happens.
Expanded shale is like 1/4 inch gravel, but it has a huge surface area that retains water. My thinking is that the larger particles will allow better root penetration into the growing medium.

29 Nov, 2009

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