Crinum, Hymenocallis, Early Report, Conroe, TX Spring 2005
Mon, 21 Feb 2005 14:31:24 PST
Hi Gang,

It was a warm fall, with temperatures often in the 80s (26-28 C); nights did 
not get cold till mid-December.  Ten or fifteen nights dropped to 28 F or 30 
F, not really a frost for plants in my garden.  There were only 2 "real" 
frosts, the first was to about 25 F and was brief with temperatures rapidly rising 
above freezing-most of the Crinum ignored it.  The second frost was about 23 F, 
and temperatures were cold for 5-8 hours, most of the Crinum defoliated 
except for C. bulbispermum, C. erubescens (under a tree), and C. x powelii.  

Today, February 21, I noticed a plant of C. bulbispermum putting up a bloom; 
the spike is about 18 inches tall (45-50 cm).  Winter is not over formally, 
but cold temperatures are not predicted in the near future--typically if we can 
make it to the end of February there will be no more 25 F-type frosts.  

The C. bulbispermum that is blooming is no special beauty; it is a seedling 
that I purchased 2 1/2 years ago in Shorter, TX (just north of Houston, TX).  
The seller told me he digs them up from a drainage ditch where they have 
naturalized.  The flowers are typical of the naturalized C. bulbispermum, not large, 
and not showy.  But, surely they will be much appreciated if the blooms open 
by March 1.  The very first daffodils only started opening in my yard 2-3 
weeks ago.  Of course the paperwhites have been blooming off and on since 
Christmas--depending upon type.  

Usually, by mid-March the earliest Hymenocallis liriosme start blooming in 
the wet areas nearby, last year I saw the first bloom by March 8.  The 
large-flowered plants, the once that reach at least 8 inches across from spidery tip to 
spidery tip, don't open till very late March, or early April.  These 
large-flowered H. liriosme bloom through May and one year I found a few flowers just 
after June 15.  I wonder if the small-flowered H. liriosme plants that grow 
wild near my home, and which bloom earlier, are "different."  It is easy to 
speculate that the large-flowered plants, that have larger leaves (50% longer), and 
which bloom later, are tetraploids.   In contrast, I wonder if the local 
plants could represent diploid progenitors.  But such musings are based on no 
facts--only wishful thinking.  

Hopefully this year will be another good year to gather Hymenocallis seed.  I 
must have sent out 200 seeds or seedlings last year.  It is nice to share 
this great Texas native.  I grow it in a low area that is wet much of the winter, 
but I understand it blooms fine in a regular garden setting.  Can anyone 
confirm H. liriosme will bloom in conditions such as you might provide for hybrid 
roses or delphiniums?  


Conroe Joe

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