Growth cycles for BX 50

Mary Sue Ittner
Fri, 21 Nov 2003 08:36:57 PST
Dear All,

Alberto has responded to me privately about my questions and I think this 
information is so valuable for anyone thinking of growing this BX seed so I 
am sending on his responses. Having information about seed or corms offered 
in the BX helps people decide whether or not they can be successful growing it.

"First of all and before I forget, the Zephyranthes hybrid offered as 
'Libra' could not be it. 'Libra' is deep pink, open flat and the segments 
are broadly rounded at the tips. I am very much with other friends into the 
preservation of those early T. Howard's hybrids and they may disappear any 
time now."

About the South American plants he is offering seed of:

"I would certainly encourage anybody capable of providing near frost free 
conditions to grow these plants. In a note to Dell I advised people against 
wasting these seeds in experiments to see if they were hardy to zones 5 or 
6. It is a wrong approach to force the plants to accept whatever conditions 
we can provide and then complain that they are failures. This I mention 
because it can be heard everywhere! The simple reason why some winter cycle 
plants grow as summer growers is because the rest of the year temperatures 
are not adequate. This is also why certain plants do not resprout again and 
sulk: they have not been "baked" enough. In other words, winter 
temperatures in your part of the world would not let these plant survive, 
hence they change to the period they regard as a "warm winter"."

And his remarks about the Calydorea that I like so much.

"Yes, it is one of the best "Tigridias" You could never imagine how it 
grows in the wild: in deep shade and in a foul smelling muck with the bulbs 
deeply embedded in it. But, the area is warm and it grows right in the 
river banks with their feet in water. In the wild it flowers in spring and 
ALSO in autumn. These same plants moved to a site in full sun will decline 
with time although the first couple of years the performance is fabulous. 
So, their seed must be started in autumn and the plants will go dormant in 
summer. Hibiscus and Neriums are common garden plants where they grow wild, 
say a zone 10. If the temperature range is lower than it the plants will 
try to survive moving to other cycle until they finally die."

I wonder how long my Calydorea will live. Perhaps I'll try starting some 
more of it. Obviously if mine is still blooming in November it did not go 
dormant in summer, but is doing that now.

And about Gelasine elongata:
"I would compare this to Cypella (Phallocallis) coelestis. Both are summer 
dormant plants yet people grow them winter dormant as they respond readily 
to warmer temperatures. These G. elongata populations I sent seed of grow 
in a warm region, hilly and gravelly with a thin layer of top soil that you 
can easily imagine endures furnace like summers. Winters are mostly frost 
free in the sense that although many slight frosts do take place their 
effect vanishes by mid morning, not really burning the plants. Plants grown 
in the same region includes palms and orange groves. Imagine this is a Cape 
species and you can not err with it. Not all G. elongata seed is good. Some 
may be hollow and look perfectly healthy and plump. This form I have sent 
has white flowers with a broad violet edge, very beautiful and different 
than the usual all-violet form all know. Let me tell you that it does not 
like MY winters (say zone 9b) if I leave them in an exposed position then. 
I have resorted to using black containers and they really like them.

And for my question "Should those people getting Alberto's seed in the 
Northern Hemisphere be starting all the ones with a W as soon as we get it? 
" he answers,

"Of course!!! This is the sense behind all this fuss of adding cycles to 
anything in the BX. Sowing at the wrong time will mean that the dormancy 
temperatures will catch the plants when they are still too tiny to survive 
it. And those with a "S" retained until spring and then sow. All seed is 
very fresh and germination should be 100%"

Thanks Alberto. This is really helpful information for all of us. Now I 
just hope no one has claimed all the Gelasine elongata seed.

Mary Sue

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

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