Bulbs that can be converted to another cycle--TOW

Mary Sue Ittner msittner@mcn.org
Fri, 31 Oct 2003 07:35:09 PST
Dear All,

I remembered another bulb that a lot of people are growing at a different 
time than in its native habitat and that is Paramongaia weberbaueri. At 
least there does seem to be a difference of opinion about when to grow it 
and maybe even when it grows in its native habitat.

According to Alberto:

Paramongaia is a genus of amaryllids from the hot dry west facing mountains 
of Peru and Bolivia. The plant has long erect obtuse leaves of an 
attractive greyish glaucous color. Flowers are like giant daffodils and are 
produced with the leaves fully developed. Flower color is a deep buttery 
yellow. A very dry winter dormancy is required. This plant requires hot, 
sunny conditions and very rocky/gritty soil. Bulbs must be planted deeply 
and are medium sized.  P. superba is one of Ravenna┬┤s species and is only a 
good sized variant of weberbaueri.

Contrast that with this information from Kevin Preuss:
  They (referring to both species) "are winter bloomers and growers, as are 
many Andean geophytes.  Cultivate under cool, but not cold conditions, 
frost-free, dry in the summer.  The flowers typically appear in early 
winter before the leaves (hysteranthus).  My experience with this species 
is limited to vegetative growth, no flowers yet!  It does not like frost as 
a couple leaves a damaged from recent freezing temps (30 F / -1 C)."

I bought one of these from Bill Dijk in Pasadena who gets his to bloom in 
August in New Zealand. Then I returned home and reviewed my saved archives 
about it I got very confused. Most people who have reported getting it to 
bloom started it in fall and found it didn't grow very long before it 
wanted to go dormant. One man from Canada started it in February and had 
better luck. Paul Chapman from the UK was trying to grow it in summer but 
had never gotten it to bloom. His had been given him by another well known 
bulb grower in the UK who grew it on a summer schedule.

I had planted mine in sand and was waiting for fall to water it, but when 
Alberto insisted I'd do better growing it in summer I finally watered it 
and it immediately sprang into life in August 2002. Although I finally 
stopped watering in November on Alberto's advice the leaves were slow to 
die back waiting until almost until April before they were totally gone. 
This year I replanted it in a much deeper pot than before (late spring) and 
then watered it.  There was no sign of activity. Periodically during summer 
I'd give it a bit of water. When we went to South Africa I tagged it to 
receive water only if there was foliage. When I returned from South Africa 
I saw that it had come up while I was gone, probably sometime in August 
judging from the leaves which were good sized in September. Did it remember 
when it grew here last year and want to repeat the pattern? It's a mystery 
to me. Paul tried to turn his into a winter grower, but it continues to 
come into growth in summer. Someone else reported that no matter how much 
water she gave hers, it did not start into growth until the temperatures 
got cooler in the fall.

Now since this one is rather tender, it would seem much better to grow it 
in summer. One wonders what it is that triggers it into growth.

Mary Sue

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

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