Cyrtanthus TOW

Tue, 30 Dec 2003 01:52:49 PST
Jamie Vande    Cologne    Germany    Zone 8

I hope we have a couple of weeks for this, as I want to learn as much about this bunch o' bulbs as possible.  Something about them, they are alluring, primitive, alien, fun.... I mean, get serious, what more can one ask for in a bulb group?

I quickly ordered ever available seed from Silverhill this last Spring. (Love Silverhill!) That would be C. (mackenii x brachyscyphus), C. brachyscyphus, C. breviflorus, C. clavatus, C. epiphyticus, C. helictus, C. smithiae, C. sp.?, C. stenanthus and C. suaveolens.  Of the above, the hybrid did not do well, only one seed germinated and is a poor grower and C. breviflorus was a total wash out.  None germinated.  Possibly bad seed/bad husbandry.  All the others germinated well and quickly (10-20 days).  They were sown upon a commercial peat-based potting mix with some basalt-type fine gravel to open it up a bit.  Probably a bit too moisture retentive for adult plants, but, as I was germinating on the windowsill and the air is a bit dryer, I took the chance and it worked (except for you know who!).  I use 10cm plastic pots.  No special treatment other than the occaisional conversation. (I know a bit of Afrikans)

Interesting are the leaves of C. helictus and C. smithiae, which spiral like a half DNA helix.  Very distinctive.  All the others are relatively straight, lightly bowed and spatulate at their ends.  We are at 3 leaves currently.  The small glistening white bulbs were very quick to form, inside of 6 weeks they were well developed.  As long as they stay green, I plan to water and fetilize until they "tell" me otherwise.

Angelo, I do not recall anyone in Germany selling Cyrtanthus or Lachenalia.  Do you remember the name?  Mind you, Lachenalia is regularly seen on the market as a pot plant in Germany, so this could be the source.  No labels to follow-up, though.

I've not had the opportunity of trying C. elatus (Scarborough Lily), as it rarely comes on the market, here.  The few times I've seen it, the bulbs are in poor shape.  I have seen it growing in peoples windows and apparently doing well.  Yeah, blue haired old gals with African Violets!  How do they do it?  Must be the Lady Clairol.  I'll bake some cookies and find out!  Hmph!

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