Bulbs that can be converted to another cycle--TOW

Brian Whyer brian.whyer@which.net
Mon, 27 Oct 2003 13:12:25 PST
I am not sure this fits this TOW, "can be" being replaced by "are"
Ornithogalum arabicum I used to see each year at the Chelsea flower show
on the Avon bulbs stand in late May, with large heads of approximately
3cm./1 1/4" diameter flowers with a dramatic black centre. Stock I think
originating from Holland, and not appreciably forced if I remember
Every time I have bought it since from various sources it has usually
sulked and only occasionally flowered, but never in spring, and always
with smaller flowers around 2cm./ 3/4" diameter. At present I have had
one bulb in flower for at least 6 weeks in my frost free greenhouse, in
a 5" pot, and it has many weeks to go still, and it looks me in the eye
at 6' tall, complete with attendant menacing spider. Other times when it
has bothered to grow or flower it is never in a spring cycle. Is there
more than one form of this plant with completely differing seasons of
I am told that cyclamen persicum, the species that is not the florist's
hybrids, can be flowered in the autumn if it is started into growth
early enough in late summer. Am I seeing a similar effect? I grow the
ornithogalum under whatever goes for natural conditions in my greenhouse
each year. Mainly neglect for this bulb, needless to say at this height
it sits on the floor on gravel.
Brian Whyer, zone 8'ish, Buckinghamshire, England

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