I'm a great fan of eucomis, of which I have quite a number in the open garden, even though we go down to -20F in winter (zone 5). The persistent snow cover is undoubtedly the explanation for winter hardiness; beyond that, summer growing conditions here are accomodating to these plants, which are very much summer (not spring) growers. The purple-leaved forms Jane mentions are wonderful things. Years ago, I grew out a batch of seedlings of E. autumnalis -300 or so - out of which I selected two very good deep-purple-leaved forms. Many more were pigmented to one extent or another, and all had a most attractive growth form, which is to say the foliage tends to stay fairly low and the inflorescence is large, full, and starts blooming low to the ground. All the dusky and dark-leaved plants have pink flowers rather than the typical greenish white (which is also attractive). In our spring 2006 catalog we'll be listing both the vegetatively produced dark-purple-leaved form (Eucomis autumnalis 'Just About Midnight')and the dusky-leaved seedlings that come out of our continuing attempts to get more really dark leaved forms from seed. There seems to be a lot of variation within species, particularly in E. autumnalis, which can range from being a very short, squat plant with a plump inflorescence to being a big, rangy, messy thing with a small inflorescence on a long pedicel-so it's a good idea to get bulbs that are either vegetatively produced or are from a known seed strain. I've dug up and discarded my share of excellent growers that weren't worth growing. E. bicolor is also somewhat variable - it pays to find plants that are heavily spotted with purple, on leaves and stems. Not to sound overly commercial, but we sell those too. I've been working with these things for roughly ten years now, and haven't tired of them yet. One other thing that has interested me: years ago, I bought Eucomis 'Peace Candles' from a South African grower, and was told it was an E. autumnalis. I planted a bunch in the garden, where they've done fine, producing almost 3-ft tall cylindrical inflorescences (that's 3 ft including the pedicel, but the inflorescence is also long) crowded with lovely white flowers with purple stamens. However, the ovaries are also purple, and the "topknot" is small, and I am now quite sure it's really E. comosa. But it's as hardy here as the other higher-altitude eucomis. Does anyone else have experience with this one? It's quite wonderful - nicely fragrant, too, whereas the flowers of E. bicolor and E. montana smell like dead mice. Eucomis is definitely one of my favorite genera - Ellen Ellen Hornig Seneca Hill Perennials Oswego NY USA USDA zone 5 http://www.senecahill.com/ Original Message: ----------------- From: Jane McGary firstname.lastname@example.org Date: Mon, 19 Dec 2005 09:10:17 -0800 To: email@example.com Subject: [pbs] Eucomis (was "Mole" deterrent) Eucomis may deter what they call "moles" in South Africa (which Rogan identifies as "mole-rats", apparently a rodent rather than an insectivore), but they have no similar effect on actual moles or on voles (rodents), both of which frequent my Eucomis planting area. That said, it's still a great genus to grow, in part because most (all?) of the species are winter-dormant and therefore can survive fairly cold winters in North America, especially if you plant them deep and mulch over them. However, as Rogan implied, the foliage is large and floppy, so Eucomis need their own space. An added advantage of the genus is that it seems to be very easy to grow from seed. The purple-foliage forms that are becoming popular seem to need full sun to maintain their best color, at least here in the cool Pacific Northwest. Jane McGary Northwestern Oregon, USA _______________________________________________ pbs mailing list firstname.lastname@example.org http://www.pacificbulbsociety.org/list.php -------------------------------------------------------------------- mail2web - Check your email from the web at http://mail2web.com/ .