En EspaŅol

Q. Who is Mr. Smarty Plants?

A: There are those who suspect Wildflower Center volunteers are the culpable and capable culprits. Yet, others think staff members play some, albeit small, role. You can torture us with your plant questions, but we will never reveal the Green Guru's secret identity.

Help us grow by giving to the Plant Database Fund or by becoming a member

Did you know you can access the Native Plant Information Network with your web-enabled smartphone?

Share

Ask Mr. Smarty Plants

Ask Mr. Smarty Plants is a free service provided by the staff and volunteers at the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center.

Search Smarty Plants
    
 
See a list of all Smarty Plants questions
Can't find the answer in our existing FAQs, submit a question to Mr. Smarty Plants.
Need help with plant identification, visit the plant identification page.
 
rate this answer
Not Yet Rated

Friday - March 24, 2006

From: Carson, CA
Region: California
Topic: Propagation
Title: Comparative speeds of flowering from seeds or bulbs
Answered by: Dean Garrett

QUESTION:

Does a seed flower grow faster than a bulb flower?

ANSWER:

I think the answer to your question is "It depends."

If you mean, “Does a plant that doesn't produce bulbs take a shorter time to flower than a plant that produces bulbs?” the answer is, “Depends on the species and whether the bulb-producing plant was set in the ground as a seed or as a bulb.”

If you mean, “Does a bulb-producing plant produce flowers faster if started in the garden by seed or by bulb?” the answer is “by bulb.” However, even the bulb that was planted started as a seed at one time.

The stem tissue of some plants thickens below or at the soil level and becomes surrounded by fleshy, modified leaves that contain stored nutrients used to support growth. This short, thickened area is called a bulb. Bulb-producing plants are often sold by their bulbs for propagation, though they started from seed themselves at some point in the past. Setting out already-established bulbs of such plants produces blooms faster than starting the same plants from seed. For example, some of your California camas wildflowers (Camassia) will not bloom until at least the second year after planting if you start them from seed in the fall, because they first have to develop bulbs. However, if you set out already-developed bulbs of the same species at the same time, they'll bloom the following summer.

Some bulb-producing wildflowers, such as the rain lilies (Cooperia), grow relatively rapidly from seed and are usually seed-sown. Growth rates vary a lot among different species of plants and some non-bulb annuals are very fast-growing, but usually a bulb-producing plant started as a bulb at a favorable time of year will set flowers more rapidly than a non-bulb-producing plant started from seed at the same time.
 

More Propagation Questions

Invasive native blackeyed susans from Warren OH
August 07, 2013 - In our demo garden we master gardeners in NE Ohio have been unable to get rid of black-eyed susans which have, like the other person, prevented or "killed" the other perennial plants. They are spre...
view the full question and answer

Sapindus drummondii or Rhus aromatica for Austria
May 07, 2006 - Hy! I'm from Austria/Europe, and interested in some North American native plants specially. It would be great if you can help me with my two questions: Sapindus drummondii I read from different...
view the full question and answer

Wildflower garden with Castilleja indivisa (Indian paintbrush)
January 08, 2013 - I want to start a wildflower garden in my front/backyard. Specifically, I would like to include the indian paintbrush. What is the best way to go about this? Straight in the ground, containers, etc...
view the full question and answer

When to plant Indian paintbrush seeds
August 25, 2008 - I live in Santa Fe, Texas and I've been trying to find the right date to plant Indian Paintbrush seeds but so far have been unsuccessful. I know it says in the fall but that seems to be a broad rang...
view the full question and answer

Propagation of Texas sage from Bastrop, TX
March 01, 2013 - Am I wasting my time trying to transplant texas sage runners? Any advice?
view the full question and answer

Smarty Plants's Facebook profile Support the Wildflower Center by Donating Online or Becoming a Member today.

Mr. Smarty Plants wants you to be his Facebook friend. Click the Facebook icon to add yourself to Mr. Smarty Plants list of friends.
E-NEWSLETTER | BECOME A MEMBER | DONATE NOW | MEDIA | SITEMAP
© 2014 Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center