Rotating Pot Culture For Bulbs
Sun, 21 Nov 2004 13:09:19 PST
I like plants that can rotate in and out of season easily.  By this I mean I 
leave them outside for months and don't have to bother with them to protect 
from too much cold or too much rain.  There are so many bulbs that will do this, 
but it is not always clear which ones will be happy here--the main culprit is 
too much rain--even in their regular growing season.   Some bulbs behave like 
cacti from extreme deserts, and it is just too wet here.  Those that have 
done OK here get 7 months outside and 5 months indoors (totally dry and air 

The bulbs that I've had success with (not that many yet) are easy for another 
reason; they don't need too big a pot--10 inches seems about right.  Thus, 
there is room for variety on a not-too-large sunny porch and I have enough room 
to store them indoors in the off season.  I just give them a shot of mild 
pyrethroid insecticide (soil drench in early fall) before I store them and I don't 
worry about insects.  The pots sit here and there, and my friends and family 
are used to seeing them as doorstops, etc.  Some sit on the top shelf in the 
laundry room where temperatures are generally warmer than the rest of the house 
(up to 85-90 F) during the day when air conditioning is minimized.  I have 
not yet tried to store summer-growing bulbs-I suppose they would do fine in the 
garage but the humidity will be higher there.  I'll try some experimenting 
with Eucomis vandermerwei.  

As far as bulbs go, I am first and foremost, a Crinum addict, but some other 
species are wonderful and take up far less space.   I'm happily waiting on 
some Nerine species that I'm growing from seed--perhaps they will find the pot 
rotation culture to their liking.  
I think I'd like to try some of the Moraea species-I've resisted them a long 
time because the fortnight lily is such a tediously common landscape plant 
where I grew up (Southern California).  But, plants I want to try include Moraea, 
more Lachenalia, and some other deciduous Cape bulbs.

I think that winters in this area (greater Houston, TX area) will be 
acceptable to bulbs that come from savannah areas or perhaps grasslands, but maybe not 
for bulbs from truly arid deserts.  If they are like cacti and North American 
succulents, the bulbs that will do best here (greater Houston, TX) will be 
those from regions that normally receive at least 15-20 inches of rain per year. 




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