Mary Sue Ittner
Mon, 29 Dec 2003 21:43:57 PST
Dear All,

I want to thank Bill for his two introductions. I've been very eager to get 
his advice on how to treat the different species. If you look on the wiki, 
you can see that he is able to get this difficult genus to flower:…
Since so many of us struggle with this genus it is quite amazing what he 
has been able to do. Lee Poulsen has some pictures of some interesting 
hybrids he grew from seed as well.

Cameron and Rhoda showed us some gorgeous pictures that Cameron had of some 
of these growing in the wild. I hope we will hear from them and also from 
Paul Chapman who loves this genus.

Here is my report of the ones I grow which mirrors some of the other responses.

I have grown Cyrtanthus brachyscyphus for years although I got it from two 
different sources, both wrongly named and have had to battle mealy bugs off 
and on. It always has bloomed for me, but some years more than others. When 
Andrew Wilson said he saw some in the gardens in San Luis Obispo (central 
California) growing in the ground and looking quite happy I planted some 
out. I still had two pots that I leave in the greenhouse year round. The 
ones in the ground with not a lot of water in summer and a lot of rainfall 
in winter are still alive and have bloomed briefly each spring. Something 
dug them up which hasn't helped them, but I found some of them before they 
were completely gone and replanted them. Lately they seem overwhelmed by 
some Alstroemeria that decided to grow near them. The ones in pots in the 
green house getting regular dilute fertilizer often when I watered them 
during the main period of growth last year bloomed starting in February and 
were still blooming in May. This was the best I have ever done and it could 
have been a fluke, but I suspect it was the feeding.

I bought Cyrtanthus elatus mail order and although when I received the 
bulbs they looked great, I managed to kill them within a few months. Jack 
Elliott took pity on me and let some completely dry out before sending me 
some more. Many were very small and it was a long time before they 
sprouted. None of them died, but in their second or third year they began 
to look virused and I got nervous and tossed them.

Robert Parker sent me some Cyrtanthus 'White Gem' which he said was created 
by Harold Koopowitz and which did very well for him in Southern California. 
He dries them out between watering. They arrived with mealy bugs which I 
quickly despatched. This cultivar bloomed for me for the first and so far 
only time last July. I'm hoping it will bloom more this year. I put 
pictures of both of my successes on the wiki. If Robert grows any others 
too we hope to hear from him.

Bill Dijk gave a lot of Cyrtanthus elatus x montanus bulblets years ago 
(BX). I got mine turned around, but couldn't get them to bloom although Jim 
Shields and Jana Ulmer were more quickly successful. With advice from 
everyone I put them in a much bigger pot and planted them much deeper and 
then moved them outside after the worst of the rains were over. Ken Kehl 
had his outside he said. I was thrilled when they bloomed for me too this 
past year (they were so beautiful). Planting them deeper has meant they 
form fewer offsets.

So that summarizes my successes. I am also growing from seed or bulblets 
the following:
Cyrtanthus mackenii -- Seed came from a friend of Rhoda's who grabbed seed 
from a lot of different colored plants. Mine are growing well, but haven't 
bloomed yet. I shared a bunch of the seed so if any of you I gave it too 
have gotten blooms please report that.

Cyrtanthus montanus -- Bulblets I bought from Bill Dijk when he was in 
Pasadena in May of 2002. I haven't killed them yet and am glad to read from 
Bill to be very careful about how much I water them.

Cyrtanthus sanguineus-- These I've been growing from Silverhill seed and 
they are looking really good so I suspect when they are big enough they 
will bloom. Lauw told me this species was the easiest for him to bloom and 
I see that Angelo and Jim also have success so am hopeful.

 From the IBS auction I bought one not so very vigorous looking bulb 
labeled Cyrtanthus purpurea x falcatus which I guess should be Cyrtanthus 
elatus x falcatus. (It was priced very low.) It is still with me, but 
hasn't bloomed. Any advice about what it might need?

These next two were grown from seed I purchased from Bill in Pasadena in 
May of 2002. Paul Chapman was there at the time and I kept asking him, "Do 
you think I could grow this and get it to bloom." He said yes. Both seem to 
be growing fine, but aren't big enough to bloom: Cyrtanthus eucaullus 
hybrids and Cyrtanthus glaucophyllus. From Bill's description of the former 
I should succeed. But Bill you left out information about Cyrtanthus 
glaucophyllus. How do you treat it?

I hope others will share their experiences and ask questions.

Mary Sue

Mary Sue Ittner
California's North Coast
Wet mild winters with occasional frost
Dry mild summers

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