Pot size

Mary Sue Ittner msittner@mcn.org
Wed, 27 Jul 2005 22:29:04 PDT
Dear All,

I found the thread about pot size very interesting and certainly agree with 
John Lonsdale that there isn't a right way to grow bulbs. We all have 
slightly to very different conditions that will make what works for one 
person not work for someone else.

I've had the experience of leaving a small bulb in a small pot and having 
it remain small. Once I started using deeper pots I found a lot of 
bulbs/corms got bigger and were more likely to bloom. Others stopped 
dividing into many tiny bulbs when they had greater room for roots. But 
then I don't really grow a lot of alpine bulbs since it is difficult for me 
to provide the cold conditions they might like in winter. Also I only have 
so much room to shelter my bulbs from the rain and those that get rained on 
many years don't need supplemental watering so it would be difficult for me 
to provide constant fertilization with each watering. Perhaps John can 
survive with smaller pots because he uses fresh soil every year and also 
fertilizes as much as he does.

Like Jane I grow different plants in the same pot so I need more room. 
Sometimes the different bulbs are at different levels. Alberto C. pointed 
out to me that as long as what you put in the same pot needs the same 
conditions and the storage organ is different so you can tell them apart 
when you knock them out that planting in a community pot saves space and 
pots. It was the perfect solution for what to do with a batch of seedlings 
when you only end up with a couple of survivors.

For a number of years I used to grow all my Oxalis in 4-5 inch pots and 
then I heard Michael Vassar speak and he mentioned that a number of the 
species needed really deep pots to bloom. What has amazed me was to see how 
giant some of these bulbs get when they are in a deep pot and how that can 
change in one or sometimes two seasons. I still haven't gotten some of the 
ones I grow to bloom so there are obviously many other factors involved.

I agree with John too about repotting tiny bulbs too soon. I need to be 
more patient as sometimes when I dump them out I am sorry as they are so 
tiny it is hard to repot them. I believe Diana pointed out that you can 
move seedlings to a deeper pot when they are in growth if you are careful 
if it looks like they need it.

I've now been growing Tecophilaea for a number of years and get a few 
blooms out of them, but nothing very spectacular so obviously I haven't 
figured out what they need. Leucocoryne on the other hand does quite well 
for me now that I give them summer warmth (which has been a bit of a 
challenge this summer as our upstairs hasn't gotten as hot as usual) and 
deep pots. Anyone grow Tecophilaea with cool summers and mild wet winters 
have any suggestions for me?

Mary Sue

More information about the pbs mailing list