PlantTherapy: Hold on to Your Bulbs!

PlantTherapy: Hold on to Your Bulbs!

Maxwell Ryan
Jan 20, 2006

On the second weekend of January I finally had my chance to leave work behind and take a stroll. I was thinking about composting. Strange, I know – it must have been the funny "this poor dog" sign that I saw in front of a townhouse tree. As I walked around Chelsea I looked at all the apartments and began to wonder exactly where everyone puts their old flowers and plants.

After visiting in the wholesale market and learning of the volume of flowers and plants that arrive daily in New York, it is evident that the city has a healthy appetite. But as much as I wish that this influx was part of a larger cycle, I suspect flowers to New York are like lemmings going off a cliff into the ocean. Even with many public garden and city programs, I imagine many plants and bulbs still end up in a garbage bag in the landfill.

My self-appointed challenge for this season has been about bulbs. Out in the country we put them in the ground and that is the last thing we ever have to do. They came back every year with the seasons- but indoor growing is by far different.

Last year I found a pot of amaryllis bulbs out in the trash on the UES. I took them home, thinking what a waste. After reading up on these bulbs I learned that if you let the leaves grow out fully after blooming the bulbs will store up energy for another blooming in the following year. That is what I did and I will be taking them from the closet this week.

So next week I will post a picture of these castaways and we can see if they really will come back again.

Anyone thinking of putting your amaryllis bulbs out with the trash should possibly consider this offer posted on CraigsList. Another option is's Garden Exchange.

Or stop by Smith & Hawken and look through their book, 'Forcing, Etc', which goes over the basics of choosing and caring for indoor bulbs – you can enjoy them year after year!

- Matt N.

(not maxwell)

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