Rain at last??/When to start watering

Mary Sue Ittner msittner@mcn.org
Sat, 16 Oct 2004 08:03:38 PDT
Dear All,

We have discussed more than once when to start watering dormant plants if 
you live in a Mediterranean climate. As usual there is no consensus. Some 
people recommend late August for those of us in the Northern hemisphere. 
There are a couple of genera that Lauw and others have  noted do not bloom 
well or even come up if started later: Oxalis, Ferraria, maybe some 
Moraeas. I have been a bit concerned about starting some things too early 
since where I live we can have warmer temperatures in September and October 
than we do in summer and have been concerned how some of the newly emerging 
plants will cope.

Last year Gordon Summerfield from South Africa told us when we visited him 
that if they are not in growth by mid October, he gives his dormant plants 
a good soaking. I saw on the weather report last night that they are 
predicting the first good winter rains for some parts of California will 
hit early next week. San Diego and Los Angeles have had no really 
measurable rainfall since mid April (just imagine all of you in other areas 
who complain when you go a number of weeks without rain!) I hiked with a 
couple from South Carolina this week who visited last spring and they just 
couldn't get over how different it looked here with all the grass brown and 
looking dead and everything covered in dust. Hopefully this rain will wash 
off the dust on the leaves of the evergreen shrubs and trees and help with 
the fire danger.

Last week we had a number of days of very hot weather and it looks like my 
Oxalis ambigua which was looking so nice has died and some of the 
Lachenalias that were just coming up have shriveled leaves. I'm wondering 
if either will recover. I had watered some of my dormant containers, but 
not all. Anyone else want to update us on their experiences?

Finally does anyone have any good ideas about the best way to water dormant 
pots that are completely dry? I find the water goes right through them, 
around the sides.

Mary Sue
Mary Sue Ittner
California's North Coast
Wet mild winters with occasional frost
Dry mild summers

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