Bulbs of south africa

Mary Sue Ittner msittner@mcn.org
Sat, 11 Jun 2005 07:52:27 PDT
Dear All,

It sounds like some people have responded to Jonathen from Brazil's 
questions about how to grow the South African bulbs he has received. He 
answered in Spanish to Alberto so I am assuming Alberto wrote to him. When 
people write privately it is hard to know whether we still need to try to 
answer the questions.

But I am guilty too as I wrote him about Cyrtanthus mackenii and C. 
brachyscyphus which are both evergreen although probably need less water in 
winter and referred him to our wiki page since Bill has added a lot of good 
information there. Cyrtanthus contractus and C. breviflorus are Eastern 
Cape species so would be a summer growers. I don't grow either so perhaps 
someone could tell us their water needs. I saw the latter in bloom last May 
in the UK so perhaps it too needs some year round water?

I have some seedlings of Boophone disticha and some I'm growing from 
African Bulbs. Since this species can be found in both summer and winter 
rainfall I've tried to make mine winter growing. They've never really gone 
dormant though so now I don't know when to stop watering them. Younger 
plants can sometimes tolerate more moisture and I don't want to kill them 
by overwatering them as they age. Giving advice about something that grows 
in areas with different environments seems tricky.

We also have a lot of good information on the wiki about Haemanthus thanks 
to Cameron McMaster. 
In that article he wrote: "Winter rainfall species should be kept dry in 
summer and only watered again when growing season commences in late summer. 
Summer rainfall species are more tolerant of watering all year round and 
should not be allowed to dry out completely in their dormant phase. 
Evergreen species should be kept moist all year round." H. 
pauculifolius  and albiflos are evergreen and H. humilis and montanus are 
summer rainfall species.

Littonia modesta is a summer grower. I keep mine dry in winter and start it 
into growth late spring. Agapanthus praecox is evergreen and A. caulescens 
is deciduous and summer growing.

Jonathan if you did not learn enough about any of these from your private 
responses, please write again and ask about which plants you still are 
wondering about.

Mary Sue 

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