Colchicum problems

Jane McGary
Wed, 14 Jul 2004 20:42:17 PDT
Today I started lifting my bulbs, beginning with a number of Colchicum 
species and varieties being grown in the open rather than in the bulb 
frame. I was sorry to see that three of these -- all purchased last fall 
from Holland -- were badly afflicted with some type of basal rot. It was 
annoying to discard these attractive and expensive cultivars. None of the 
other colchicums grown in the same conditions had basal rot, although some 
displayed a white threadlike fungus on the old tunics, which I think is 
harmless since it doesn't seem to invade live tissue. I wonder whether some 
new pathogen came in with the new corms, or whether they were damaged in 
handling and shipping? Can some colchicum expert comment, please?

In general, the corms grown without any winter protection were notably 
smaller than when I had grown them in the bulb frames (ran out of room!), 
and they had not increased nearly so much these past two years. Apparently 
the extra warmth and lower moisture in the frames gives them just the boost 
they need. It's also likely that the incessant winter rain leaches out the 
fertilizer in their soil much faster than does the hand-watering they get 
in the frames.

By the way, I think it's a good idea to wear impermeable gloves when 
handling a lot of colchicum tissue of any kind, and I did so. I don't need 
to be poisoned as well as annoyed.
Jane McGary
Northwestern Oregon, USA

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