Bulbs and Lilies can be propagated at home.
Most spring bulbs like narcissus and daffodils produce small offsets which can be grown to flower bearing size by separating and planting them. Then just wait for the years to work their magic. However, it is easy to urge these bulbs to produce bulblets in greater numbers and to get bulbs from hyacinths, which do not produce offsets generously. Simply select a large, healthy bulb, turn it upside down and cut an X in the bottom plate. Let the wounds cure for a few days, then put the bulb in a moistened peat moss or potting medium with the top out of the soil. Keep the bulb in a bright, warm place for a couple of weeks but don’t let it get direct sunlight. Check after three weeks to see if tiny bulbs are growing from beside the cuts in the basil plate. Don’t be discouraged if it takes as much as six weeks for bulblets to appear. Watch for them and when they are big enough to handle, pluck them off and set them in pots of their own to over-winter in a cool location.
It will take several years for these to produce flowers, but the wait is worth it.
In the late summer or early fall when lilies are mature, lift them and check the stems for bulblets. These can be removed and planted separately from the mother bulb. If you have a lily you particularly like but which is not easily available to buy and does not produce bulblets, you can multiply your bulb by carefully removing some of the outer scales from healthy, fleshy bulbs. Dip these scales in a one to ten solution of chlorine bleach and water. Let them air dry. Place them in damp (not wet) perlite or vermiculite in a plastic bag. Don’t worry about keeping all of them on the surface; just keep the bag and scales in a cool place (about 70 degrees). A bulblet should grow at the base of each scale in about six weeks. The bag should then be refrigerated for two months, then the bulbs planted out either in the soil or in pots. They should be nice sturdy plants next summer and bloom in a year or two. It may take time, but it takes very little actual work.
Joyce Gay, former Smith County Master Gardener
Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service