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Regrown leek flowers

Having started my garden on a shoestring earlier this year, I experimented with regrowing vegetables from kitchen scraps. The leeks that I regrew bolted and flowered during the hot weather this summer. This didn't bother me much, as they were an experiment and it has been an interesting process to watch. However, once they were done flowering, they (instead of dropping seed like I thought they would) produced lots of little bulbils directly from the flower heads.

Should I break the flower heads apart and plant the bulbils separately? Or will that damage them and would it be better to just chop off and plant the entire flower head? I thought that leeks needed quite a lot of room and don't like to be crowded, so I am leaning towards the first option, but I would appreciate any advice.




  • fidgetbonesfidgetbones Posts: 15,877
    Break them apart and plant singly.
    You don't stop doing new things because you get old, you get old because you stop doing new things. <3
  • @fidgetbones Perfect, thank you, I will give it a go and see how they get on. Thanks for your help!
  • LynLyn DevonPosts: 19,955
    edited December 2020
    Not at that stage though, they have to turn dry and black on the head first. 
    Gardening on the wild, windy west side of Dartmoor. 

  • @Lyn Yes, sorry, this photograph was taken a couple of months or so ago. The flowerheads have dried out a lot since then and the visible seeds have turned black. The green bits have also gotten a lot longer.

    I should have taken a new photo, really, but it's been bucketing it down all week so I didn't fancy going out there with my camera!

    Thanks for your help.
  • Seeing as we are forecast some very hard frosts over the next few days, I decided today was the time to bring these in and give them their best shot at surviving. Gently removed the strongest looking bulbils and have planted them individually into a tray. Now just to give them a wee bit of water and see what happens next!

    I am not expecting much, if anything, but it will be an interesting experiment and fun to find out.

    Sorry for the poor photo quality - my phone doesn't take great pictures.

  • Sam 37Sam 37 Posts: 979
    There's some information here, WillowBark, that you might find useful.

  • LynLyn DevonPosts: 19,955
    Did you allow the seeds to go black on the plant ? 
    Gardening on the wild, windy west side of Dartmoor. 

  • @Lyn, some had gone black, some had gone mushy, so figured now was as good a time as ever. Didn't really feel I could leave it any longer. The flowerhead was a lot drier than it had been before, so fingers crossed. 

    @Sam 37, thanks, I will have a look.
  • BobTheGardenerBobTheGardener Leicestershire, UKPosts: 11,336
    @Lyn I think you missed the fact that these are bulbils produced by the flower head instead of seeds, which sometimes happens with members of the allium family:

    A trowel in the hand is worth a thousand lost under a bush.
  • @BobTheGardener That was a really interesting article, and I learnt a lot. Thank you. Being a complete newbie to gardening (and especially to things like leeks, which my dad, otherwise an avid vegetable gardener, doesn't like and has never grown), I had assumed that the bulbils were somehow produced by seeds that hadn't come free of the flowerhead and were growing, rather than being produced directly by the original plant itself. Now that I write it down (and now that I think back to which part of the plant the bottom of the bulbils were attached to when I separated them yesterday), that seems a bit of a daft thing for me to have thought, but we live and learn! And I love learning new things, so all is good  :)

    Looking at the picture of the bulbils in the article that you linked to, I wonder if I have jumped the gun a bit after all and should have left the bulbils on the plant over winter to develop more, but it's done now, so I shall have to cross my fingers and hope and wait to see what happens. If they die, they die, and I shall know better for next time.

    @Sam 37 Discovered some interesting things from the video you shared - had no idea that for leeks you didn't want to backfill the planting hole, which might explain why some of the new seeds I sowed this year just gone ended up producing the skinniest leeks I'd ever seen! This year I shall think differently and make sure they have nice loose soil and lots of room to develop fatter stalks.

    Thanks to everyone for all their help and advice, I really appreciate it.
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