Calostemma purpureum

Robert Hamilton
Sun, 05 Oct 2003 04:12:15 PDT
Hi Jane,

Calostemma  grow as a  summer dormant plant  for me -  even though we  
get  summer  rainfall it  is  usually  not heavy  and  persistent  
enough  to  have any  great  effect on the garden  or the potting mix  
of  exposed  bulbs.

After  reading your posting  I  have  revisited an article  by  Robert 
Gibson in  an  Australian  Native Plants  publication and  thought it 
would  be of  interest to  quote  his  thoughts on  cultivation.

"Calostemma purpureum is an  easy plant to  cultivate and propogate.It 
grows  easily in standard potting mix in a  full-length plastic pot at 
least 15cm accross, and grows in most garden soils. Given their bulbous 
nature they  respond readily to changes in soil moisture levels.  In 
dry conditions the plants become completely dormant and all above  
ground growth dies away. The bulbs  readily produce new growth when the 
soil becomes moist, with a  flush  of new leaves and, periodically, 
flowers triggered by at least some periodic heavy watering. Leaves  
will survive  for several months provided the soil or potting mix 
remains moist.
They  occur naturally in areas that receive light winter frosts, which 
they  usually survive, however, this  species is  probably best thought 
of as a summer growing  bulb. "

They survive  frost  here to  -2C and  I am  sure  much  colder in  
Canberra  where Paul  Tyerman grows them and  reported some interesting 
colour varieties from Canberra Botanical Garden where they   would  be 
on a  summer dormant cycle. The images  of   these  colour varieties 
are on the  wiki.

Jim Lycos  grows  them in Sydney where the  rainfall  pattern is  
different so  may  tell us how they grow  there.

Jane, it sounds as though it  may  be worth  drying off  your  plants  
for  winter  to  see whether  spring / summer    watering  stimulates  


Rob in Tasmania
Zone 9 equivalent.

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