I have successfully propagated Crinum by cutting the basal plate. Here is what I do:
- Wash bulb and trim off all roots.
- Cut foliage off far down near where the bulb begins to taper up and form neck.
- With a sharp, sterile knife slice longitudinally through the bulb, bisecting the basal plate.
- Now you are left with two halves, which can be subsequently divide the same way. Now you have the bulb in quarters. You can continue splitting each section as long as you still retain a portion of the basal plate.
- I dip sections in a fungicide solution. I think I normally use Daconil.
- Let sections sit for a day or so and sort of callous over,
- I pot my sections in a porous soil mix (I think I used 50% perlite and 50% pine bark/sand nursery mix.
- Keep on the dry side. I watered very infrequently until I saw growth.
- Wait. Wait some more. It took a while to see any new bulblets forming. As I started to see foliage, I began watering more.
- Once new bulbs form and begin to grow their own roots, you can choose to repot them in a more appropriate growing mix. Several bulbs may form on each section, so you can further seperate these bulbs or leave it all together for a while before dividing.
- I leave the original basal section on the new bulbs until all its old leaves have dried up or rotted.
- It seems to work better with large sections. Mine tended to be more prone to rot as the sections became smaller. I have found that it works well when you divide the bulb into quarters or eighths. I think I may have done some at one time in sixteenths.
- Size of section may determine yield and size of new bulbs. I keep meaning to do a little experiment and collect data based on the ratio of new bulbs against the size of the original section. One of these days...
- I've performed this method successfully on 'White Queen' and 'Ellen Bosanquet'.
- It may work better on some species or cultivars than it does on others. I just haven't fooled with enough different ones to know.
- There may be better ways of doing this. I just sort of came up with this method through talking with folks on this forum and reading about sectioning bulbs. I believe Traub's "The Amaryllis Manual" had a lot of information in it that I incorporated in my method. Actually, a lot of what I did probably came from that book.
Here is a photo of a Crinum 'Ellen Bosanquet' that was propagated by bulb chipping. You will notice the new bulbs forming on the original section of the bulb.
I cannot remember how long it was from the time I cut the bulbs until the photo was taken. I want to say it was about six months.
Andy Cabe (July 31, 2006)
Curator of Horticulture
Riverbanks Zoo and Garden
PO Box 1060
Columbia, SC 29202