TOW - Ferraria and cold temperatures

Mary Sue Ittner
Mon, 27 Dec 2004 08:30:40 PST
Dear all,

Thanks to all of you who posted on this topic during a time of year which 
can be very hectic. I am wondering if all the Ferrarias offset as much a F. 
crispa. I got one Ferraria ferrariola from the BX and Joyce. It has never 
bloomed and remains one corm. I started some more seed from Silverhill to 
keep it company and it germinated mostly the second year instead of the 
first after being left outside and dried off and in this third year none of 
them are up. They may still be there however as I did not repot them.

There were corms of Ferraria divaricartia that I received from Jim Robinett 
when he asked me to rescue the bulbs he could no longer care for. There 
were 12 corms, first planted in 2000. I gave half to Mendocino Coast 
Botanical Gardens the next year after they had not bloomed (nor had they 
increased.) I don't know if they ever bloomed for them (Lily, Kristina are 
you reading this to say?), but they have not bloomed yet for me. They went 
from 7 to 10 the next year and to 14 since then. That is not a huge 
increase as corms grow. Following Lauw's advice I have watered them early 
and some of them come up in September each year. I've grown them in the 
structure that is outside, but covered on top so controlled the amount of 
rainfall they got to some degree. This year they went into one of my raised 
beds so I'll see if that works better.

The question David raised intrigues me. One would expect in the greenhouse 
there would be some protection from the wind that would help that might not 
occur outside even if the temperatures were the same. We all experience 
parts of our garden where they is some protection from other shrubs that 
helps. Also in the greenhouse you'd expect there would be protection from 
the harsh early morning sun which is so damaging to plants that are icy.

The winter of 1990 described and remembered as the Arctic Freeze in 
California when many of us lost a lot of tender plants had been unusually 
mild and dry prior to the cold. There were a lot of people writing about 
why it was so severe to give us tips to prevent this problem from happening 
again. One theory was that the switch from so warm to so cold all at once 
was part of the problem. Another strongly touted by the Santa Cruz 
Arboretum (they had African and Australian plants that were damaged and 
killed so were especially interested) was that the soil was dry and the 
plants were not hydrated. I had an offline discussion with someone about 
this (Mark McDonough possibly?) and he said that was absolutely not true. 
That it was the opposite. Dry plants would do better with cold 
temperatures. Now that David has said he only waters during mild 
temperatures and wonders if this is one reason for his plants tolerating 
colder temperatures than you'd expect perhaps we can discuss this.

Mary Sue 

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