If you would like to try your hand at serious bulb propagation, a method often used by professional growers, especially for hyacinths, is called scooping, and it is known to produce up to thirty bulblets from a single bulb.
Clean and dry a large and healthy hyacinth bulb and scoop out the basal plate, together with the shoot and flower bud at the center. If possible, apply fungicide to discourage the development of mold. Stick the cored bulb upside down, buried about half way in coarse wet sand and keep the container in a warm, dark location, making sure the sand stays moist.
In about twelve weeks bulblets should have formed in the scooped out area, and at this time you should take the hatching bulb and plant it in the garden, bublets and all, right side up.
After a winter in the garden you can dig it up, remove the rotten matter around the bulbs and plant them individually in the desired locations. Keep in mind that it takes about five years for the bulblets to reach maturity, but this method presents the advantage of yielding large crops with very well controlled characteristics.
There are a few variations of this method, the bulb can be scored or cored, which are just different means of removing the basal plate and the center shoot, but the rest of the procedure is very similar. Cored bulbs produce larger flowers and take less time to mature.
Of course, you can just chip or twin-scale the bulbs, a process very similar to making a blooming onion, but without removing the basal plate and the filaments, and separating the pieces so that every chip or slice has a portion with roots attached. When placed in a constantly moist medium the chips will develop bulblets at their base in about three months, after which they can be planted. The method usually yields sixteen to thirty two bulblets, depending on the size of the mother bulb.
For scaly bulbs that are loosely packed together, like those of lilies, irises and amaryllis, the work is a lot easier, they can just be dug up, have their scales separated from the mother bulb and planted in a different location. This natural process of propagation is a lot slower and produces fewer bulbs, but the plants usually reach maturity in a couple of years. No new bulbs will bloom sooner than two years, so be patient with them. I’m still waiting on my amaryllis bulb, which has very healthy foliage, but hasn’t bloomed in three years.
Main Areas: Garden Writing; Sustainable Gardening; Homegrown Harvest
Published Books: “Terra Two”; “Generations”; "The Plant - A Steampunk Story"; "Letters to Lelia"; "Fair"; "Door Number Eight"
Career Focus: Author; Consummate Gardener;
Affiliation: All Year Garden; The Weekly Gardener; Francis Rosenfeld's Blog
I started blogging in 2010, to share the joy of growing all things green and the beauty of the garden through the seasons. Two garden blogs were born: allyeargarden.com and theweeklygardener.com, a periodical that followed it one year later. I wanted to assemble an informal compendium of the things I learned from my grandfather, wonderful books, educational websites, and my own experience, in the hope that other people might use it in their own gardening practice.