Jane McGary
Tue, 06 Dec 2005 19:04:49 PST
Mary Sue asked,
"While we are speaking of Tropaeolum, does anyone have any suggestions for
>getting the tubers to come up? Do I need to grow all of them (except for T.
>tricolor which I can usually get to grow outside) in the greenhouse?"

Tropaeolums are well known to take sabbaticals, as it were, but the tubers 
remain viable. (I accidentally left one in a paper envelope on my desk, 
where it got pushed into a cubbyhole and stayed there a year and a half. 
Found it, planted it, it immediately grew.) Now I'm growing all those I 
have in the bulb frames, and all of them grew last winter.

If you can grow T. tricolor outdoors, you should be able to grow almost any 
other ones there too, because the form of T. tricolor in commerce seems to 
be rather tender. There are coastal and Andean populations, and I hope the 
seedlings I have now are the latter, which I've seen emerging just below 
snowfields. The most successful species for me is T. brachyceras, which 
begins flowering in January and blooms right through all kinds of freezing 
periods. T. hookerianum is much less vigorous but survives. I also have T. 
incisum. T. polyphyllum is beautiful but would be too big for the frames; a 
friend of mine grows it in a half-barrel which he moves indoors in winter.

Jane McGary
Northwestern Oregon, USA

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