Kenneth Hixson khixson@nu-world.com
Wed, 03 Dec 2003 11:04:39 PST
Hi, All
>Cathy, I'm sure yours would be much happier in the ground. 
	I second that--I find them very slow to start flowering.  Never actually
checked how long it takes to start flowering, but my assumption is five years
or more.  Of course, mine are sown in "clumps", and might do better if
They also haven't ever been fertilized, which probably would speed things up  
quite a bit.  The seedlings transplanted this past summer were over a year
and the largest probably had three leaves and was slightly over a foot tall.
In addition, they are probably much hardier in the ground--they seem to freeze
fairly readily in containers here, while plants in the ground are not
(ie, the roots/corms are not as hardy as the leaves, a common situation)

>Put them somewhere that you water in summer. They are rather elegant in
	They show up much better if you can give them a background.  Close to a
may not be a good idea--I've cut myself on the leaves, and also while
trying to strip
the seed pods from the flower stem.  There are more dead leaves on mine this 
winter than I can remember from years past.  There are always a few, but I
hadn't ever
considered trimming off dead leaves-but this year, it might be a good idea.

	In addition to the nearly tubular shape shown in Mary Sue/Bob's picture,
I have one that is such a wide funnel shape that it is nearly flat.  It's a
pink, a lighter color than I'd like.  At least one species is supposed to have
similiar flower shape, though I don't remember which one.  Dierama erectum and
Dierama trichorhizum are described as having upright flowers.  I don't know
if any are blessed with fragrance, but it would be a big plus if they were.

	Taking pictures is a pain--any breath of air makes the flowers move, so
the picture is never quite in focus.

	Incidentally, Dierama are interesting for an uncommon reason:  the flowers
open from the top down, not the bottom up the way most flowers progress.

	Plant height is said to vary from 15 inches to ten feet, so there are
plants for many garden locations.

	Hardiness?  So far, pretty much unknown.  Seneca Hill, in New York, grows
several species, and I've seen references of hardy to 0F, but of course
some species
are hardier than others.  Dierama igneum, insigne, luteoalbidum, medium,
pulcherrimum, reynoldsii, are reported hardy to Zone 7, with D.
trichorhizum Zone 6. 
Herronswood Nursery in Washington rates several species as hardy, but I am
a little
loath to accept their ratings-what they consider hardy, sometimes isn't here.
As more species are tried, some of them may prove hardier.

	I found the following passage interesting:
"Goldblatt (1969) stated that the genera Dierama, Ixia and Synnotia are
related to 
Sparaxis and form a natural group.  All have a diploid chromosome number of
Intergeneric hybrids are reported. Goldblatt crossed Sparaxis tricolor with
variegate with no noticeable reduction in seed production.  The two genera
were also 
crossed by Johan Loubser, who raised a sturdy hybrid generation." 		
"Cape Bulbs, Richard Doutt p205-6."
	I can certainly see a relationship between Dierama and Ixia.  If anyone 
knows of hybrids of these two, I'd enjoy hearing about them.

Ken, western Oregon


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