Flowers of Crete and Haemanthus Blooms

J.E. Shields
Fri, 04 Nov 2005 05:47:01 PST
Hi all,

To merge two threads here, I'd interject that the summer-rainfall species, 
Haemanthus albiflos, also blooms in autumn.  Mine have just finished 
flowering and are setting seeds.  It's interesting to note that when I 
neglect seeds of Haemanthus albiflos that I've harvested and cleaned, they 
go ahead and form tiny green bulblets, rather like many Crinum species do 
under similar neglect.    These bulblets of albiflos seem to remain viable 
for a very long time, still just laying about on the top of my potting 
bench (indoors, not in the greenhouse).  Other Haemanthus seeds will die 
under these conditions; they start to germinate, but then just dry up and 
die if not quickly planted.  I wonder if H. albiflos has adapted to summer 
rainfall/winter drought by perfecting its germination in this way?

I think Mary Sue has one significant climate advantage over me, where she 
gardens:  cool nights year-round.  She might well have rather better 
technique in growing her bulbs, too!  While I might, in principle, improve 
my growing habits, I can't do away with my hot, humid summer 
nights.  Besides his far superior growing techniques, I think Doug 
Westfall's Haemanthus also benefit from his cool California coastal nights 
in summer.

I am thinking of carrying my young seedling bulbs over the summer in my 
basement rather than under the benches in the greenhouse.  This might help 
with some of the larger bulbs too.  For instance, I fail miserably with 
seeds of Haemanthus humilis hirsutus, but have reasonably good luck with 
seeds of H. humilis humilis.  The hirsutus seedlings never make it through 
a full year from germination with me if kept in the greenhouse.

Jim Shields
in beautiful autumnal central Indiana, where the trees all look as if they 
were on fire in the morning sunlight

At 10:11 PM 11/3/2005 -0800, you wrote:
>I can think of two reasons why some bulbs in Mediterranean climates flower
>in the fall.
>1. There is less competition for pollinators. there are fewer species that
>flower in the fall compared to the spring.
>2. There is less chance of the pollen being damaged by rain. At least in
>some parts the rains don't really start with enthusiasm until the winter time.

Jim Shields             USDA Zone 5             Shields Gardens, Ltd.
P.O. Box 92              WWW:
Westfield, Indiana 46074, USA
Tel. ++1-317-867-3344     or      toll-free 1-866-449-3344 in USA

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