Are there plants with bulbs that only produce leaves, no flowers? If I wanted to look up such plants, what should I search for? e.g. botanical term, name of plant family - whatever makes sense.

Background: I found some bulbs in my garden that i didn't think I'd seen flower. I put them in a pot to keep an eye on them and see what they are but they have gone through two years without producing any stalk or flower. They produce a lot of lush leaves so I thought they might be grown for foliage, but then what is the reproduction strategy of the plant?

  • 1
    Why don't you ask a question to identify this plant?
    – J. Musser
    Jan 7 '15 at 4:51
  • 1
    Although I can't think of any bulbs which don't produce flowers, many bulbs can propogate by splitting the bulb. A good example is the cloves in garlic, each individual clove has the potential to form its own plant.
    – Alpar
    Jan 7 '15 at 9:15
  • My Amaryllis get like that after a few years, but they do not like the climate in which I grow them. Lack of flowering is a sign that it's time for me to buy some new bulbs. Jan 7 '15 at 14:33

No, all bulbs produce a flower at some point, though some may only flower once and then die. The usual cause of non flowering is environmental, meaning the plant hasn't been able to access sufficient food or water during the time its leaves are present to initiate flower production for the following year. A bulb is a storage organ, and when the leaves are actively growing, nutrients are transported and stored within the bulb to enable flowering a year later. Even cutting off the leaves or tying them up before they die back can cause blindness the following year. Try feeding your bulb leaves with a general fertiliser for six weeks, once a week, and see what happens next year - but once the leaves have gone, there's no point in feeding.

  • So since they have already died down, I would need to make them happy next year, and then the year AFTER that, they might flower?
    – standgale
    Jan 11 '15 at 8:14
  • 1
    @standgale, yup, that's right.
    – Bamboo
    Jan 12 '15 at 11:53

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