Once again, despite being well versed in the (sometimes) wicked ways of the box kit world, Emaryllis has been weak in the face of glossy images lavished upon thin cardboard cartons. What can I say, marketing works. Ah, but this year there must be some restraint, lest Emaryllis breaks the bank; there are pricey new bulbs with expensive shipping costs to acquire for the galleries! We are testing out three kits this season, and not in the usual way; this is a check-in for the red and white bicolors only. And no, we won’t be potting them in the provided pots or media this time, as we want them to perform at their very best. True, we have coaxed some pretty nice results from some of these kits in the past, but those lightweight plastic pots often needed drain holes carefully cut or punched in. When they have prospered, they have sometimes toppled over, as the weighty flower scapes and leaves tip the balance upward and outward, leaving a mess to clean up and broken blooms. Into clay pots they go this time out!
The photo says one thing, the name another. Let’s see what really blooms from this grocery store sourced box kit.
As usual, the kits are all provided discs of compressed coconut coir, which is to be expanded in warm water. It offers a less acidic pH than sphagnum peat, which makes nutrients readily available, but also offers a more hospitable environment for harmless saprophytic fungi. Unfortunately for us, their not so lovely diners, the fungus gnats, come in the bargain-often in droves. Two of three kits are emblazoned with the (supposed) cultivar names of the respective bulbs supplied, and one is not. The ‘Star of Holland’ kit will be of interest for the absolute likelihood that it will not be the 1984 registered (as ‘Ster van Holland’) variety, as that one has not been seen by Emaryllis, ever. The photo looks much like the excellent ‘Stargazer.’ Before long, we will know just what variety was dropped into the box.
This curvaceous kit begged to be included in our evaluations!
An eye-catching kit appeared at a local drugstore chain this year, and the shape and style of it insisted that it be purchased, with or without a Box Kit Bonanza on the horizon. Its swoopy shape, vibrant colors, and labeling as old school fave ‘Minerva’ simply insisted that this kit must be put through the paces.
The “debi lilly” moniker on the kit confuses, but the bulb looks sound. Will the photo of ‘Minerva’ prove prescient?
The only kit with no cultivar label may not call out ‘Minerva’ by name, but it certainly features a clear image of her. The thin, but somewhat stylish beaded pot included is familiar, but the packaging from this supplier has changed of late…so it seems a good time to check up on the company’s offering this season. So, get ready all ye box kit faithful, there will be some revelations early in 2016!