Mary Sue Ittner
Thu, 19 Feb 2004 08:49:28 PST
Dear Jamie,

No one has responded to your Babiana question on the list although they may 
have done it privately. The nice thing about growing bargains is if they 
act as annuals you don't feel bad.

The Babiana stricta hybrids which may be what you have are very easy plants 
for me. They do well in the ground and have increased nicely. They'd be 
worth trying in Zone 8 I expect. The ones I had in the ground in 1990 when 
we got down to 19 F (-7 C) came back. They retain their leaves a long time 
so by planting now you may be able to keep them growing long enough to 
develop new corms for next year. You should think of them as bulbs changing 
hemispheres. If they survive they may take a bit of time to get adjusted 
and bloom again.

They grow deep and do better with containers that are deep it has been my 
experience. The corms are small so you wouldn't think that by looking at 
them. I have mine planted in the ground, in large wooden boxes, and in deep 
plastic pots. They are doing really well in my raised beds (9 inch deep 
plastic pots submerged in a gravel-sand plunge). They do best in sun, but 
if it gets hot early for you move them to shade so you can keep them 
growing as long as possible this year. I had read they were great container 
plants and that wasn't my experience, at least not in shallow pots. Now I 
expect a lot of people to write that they grow them well in 2 or 4 inch pots.

Mary Sue

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