Fire, Smoke, Past PBS posts

Mary Sue Ittner
Wed, 24 Aug 2005 18:57:05 PDT

I'd like to remind everyone that I put on the Pacific Bulb Society's web 
page how to search our archives using Google. I was able to quickly find 
the post Lee was referring to:…

And my writing about Diana's fire experiments:…

And Diane Whitehead's quoting a South African lecturer that it is lack of 
competition  from other plants that stimulate's blooming after a fire…

And Dave Fenwick's response that fruit might help with bulbs that don't bloom…

In the past I've asked if anyone has used smoke water successfully to 
stimulate bloom and I can't recall anyone saying yes. I've used the 
Kirstenbosch smoke water a couple of times in controlled experiments with 
half my seed and am not sure I could see a conclusive difference. I've 
never tried Rod Saunders' suggestion of putting a pot in a plastic bag, 
starting a fire in a bee smoker and directing the smoke into the bag, 
closing it up and leaving it for a day or so. I think it would be worth 
trying. Has anyone done this? Nor have I taken my seedling pots to local 
"fires". During winter there are a lot of burn piles where I live after it 
starts raining. It's how some people get rid of tree trimings and other 
garden waste. I've thought about dropping by with a load of pots.

Off topic:

I think the smoke water may help in germinating South African Erica. Yes, 
there are a few of us  who do try to grow these remarkable plants and it is 
a huge challenge I have found to grow them from seed. Some years I've had 
good germination and some years almost no germination. The seed is too tiny 
to soak in smoke water first so I just spray it on the seeds. Hummingbirds 
really love Erica cruenta, one with large red flowers that blooms much of 
the year.

One year Ginny Hunt included a quarter of a smoke paper with seed of a 
native Salvia that she said was very difficult to get to germinate and she 
had found that smoke water was helpful. I had the seeds in the refrigerator 
and didn't notice that I had knocked over some olives and spilled the 
liquid on the seed. Before I could try the smoke they germinated in the 

Mary Sue

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