Calostemma purpureum

Jim Lykos
Tue, 07 Oct 2003 05:51:44 PDT
Hi Jane and Rob,

Rob's growing conditions in Tasmania are probably the most comparable 
with your own.
Complicating  the  information that  Rob has given,  is the  very wide 
distribution of this species in the semi arid and arid interior of  the 
Eastern states of Australia down into the southern part of South 
Australia a span of over 1,500 miles.  in the northern parts of the 
distribution  rainfall is heavy in summer, driest in winter , while in 
the southern part of its distribution  it faces winter rain and very dry 
summers.   Populations of this species have generally adapted to these 
conditions - so that the NSW Calostemma's  tend to go dormant during 
early spring and then are revived and flower once a substantial 
mid-summer rain storm occurs.
In South Australia, they will go dormant early  in early or late spring 
(soon after ground moisture dries up) - and they usually wait until  the 
first late summer storms or autumn rainfall before they flower- and 
autumn flowering is the most typical flowering period.
In my own collection I also have found Calostemma purpureum from  South 
Australian to be the quickest to go into dormancy in dry weather.  
As Rob mentioned its usually  hot and dry soil conditions that initiate 
hibernation,  and hot wet conditions after a rest period that initiate 
the flowering cycle.  In your conditions they appear to  have missed the 
spring and summer heat triggers. In the Australian outback in Spring and 
Summer it becomes really hot and dry - 30+  for at least 4 months, and 
these conditions would be most approximated in some regions of   Texas 
and California.  To optimise flowering  I think it would be best to stop 
watering them  in  mid spring,  allow the pots to have some direct 
sunlight during  summer and allow watering by natural rainfall or  
restart watering in the last month of summer.
Calostemma luteum on the other hand is much more associated with the 
flood plains of the interior of Eastern Australia, and grows more 
commonly  in fertile clay flats. It is even more responsive to rainfall 
in breaking its dry dormancy periods - and it typically flowers in mid 
to late autumn and in early spring   ( April, May and September).
Good  Calostemming


Jim Lykos
Blue Mountains
Zone 9b

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