Tecophilaea info

Bill Dijk daffodil@xnet.co.nz
Sun, 09 Jul 2006 05:23:12 PDT
Dear Jacinda,

I think Rodger Whitlock and Jim Kenney just about covered the basics,
although growing and raising Tecophilaea's from seed requires a certain
amount of knowledge, understanding the genus and dedication to be
successful with Tecophilaea's.
Everyone on the Internet already knows what my favourite subject is, our
success, and involvement with growing the Tecophilaeae's.
For further information and pictures have a look at the PBS Wiki page.
What a pity you had to pay $ 30 each, I normally sell them for half that
price, but then again you'll have to get them from NZ
You might try some seed, much easier, but you have to wait 3-4 years before
I am busy at the moment sowing lots of seed, but will have still some fresh
Tecophilaea seed for sale if you're interested.
Please contact me personally for further information
I will also repeat and reintroduce a previous posting of a article I wrote
about the beauty and cultivation of his charming little treasure. (my pet 
Anyway, its that time of the season again, to get me all excited, when one
of my favourite treasures the Tecophilaea's are flowering right now.
Hope this info will have been some help to you.

Bill Dijk

Tauranga, New Zealand :annual rainfall :1250 mm.
Sunshine hours, mean annual  :  2350 hours.
Temp.mean max.Summer : 25°C.   winter:///15°C/.
Temp.mean min. Summer :14.5°C. Winter: 5°C.
Wet mild Winters with occasional light frost.

Dear Bulbophiles,
Without doubt, the most sought after of all the smaller (alpine) flowering
bulbs/corms: the fabulous "Chilean blue crocus"
Its supreme beauty and rarity makes it a must for in every connoisseur's
collection, I am of course talking about the 3 winter-flowering Tecophilaea
cyanocrocus species and varieties
TECOPHILAEA cyanocrocus: another cold climate hardy bulb for the keen grower
and collector.
This species is now believed to be critically endangered in the wild, mainly
because of over-collecting and intensive grazing by cattle and sheep to the
point of becoming extinct.
Fortunately they are not difficult to grow, and although rare in
cultivation, and given the right environment, will not be lost from the
They are usually grown in an alpine house or cold glasshouse.
Because they are so unique and beautiful, these plants justify special
attention and treatment.
It starts growth early in the season, but appears to be hardy in all except
very exposed areas. and need very good drainage.
Young growth can be scorched with severe frost, but will soon harden.
Plant in well drained fertile potting mix in full sun 5cm. deep (2inch.)
Bulbs should remain cool until growth appears from mid to late winter.
Water only when in growth, but be careful not to over-water in warm humid
When flowering is finished, gradually reduce water to allow bulbs to go
dormant and dry in summer.
In view of its small size and rarity T. cyanocrocus sp.are best cultivated
in a container or some other "protected" situation where it can thrive and
receive the special attention it deserves.
As an Alpine house-plant it can more easily be grown and maintained, and a
pot of it is always treasured by keen collectors.
Bulbs multiply slowly; the best method of increase is to propagate from
fresh seed, sown in autumn in a gritty seed mix.
Seed will develop more readily when hand pollinated, which required a deft,
delicate touch with a very fine camel-hair brush, if it's going to be
Sow seeds in a well-drained seed-medium, with plenty of course sand and or
pumice for good drainage (May)
Our potting mixture is a simple basic 50% composted bark and 50%
horticultural pumice and coarse sand, with a well balanced slow release bulb
fertilizer and trace elements, that is low in nitrogen.
Seedlings will reach flowering size, when grown on for another 3-4 years.

Tecophilaea cyanocrocus: one, often two flowers are produced per stem, of
intense vivid gentian blue with a white throat.
Flowers 2 inches across when fully open.
T.cyanocrocus var.leichtlinii: the same beautiful plant with 2 inch.
Sky-blue flowers and large white centres.
T.cyanocrocus var.violaea: another member of this attractive but rare
species, the bright violet blue colour of this form has great charm.

Tecophilaea's are always much admired when flowering en masse, a sight never
to be forgotten.
I sow my fresh seed in May June-July (Southern Hemisphere) in deep seed
trays, in a well-draining  sterile seed mix, topped off with ½ inch of finer
mix or river sand.
The seed normally germinate in 6-8 weeks if everything goes according to
During that time I pay particular attention to watering, not to wet, and
always start them in semi-shaded, covered open benches, in the coolest part
of the nursery, to stop them damping off.
As soon as the seeds are up, I usually take them outside to harden off and
grow them on, and let nature do the rest.
I will attach a picture of successful germinated Tecophilaea seedlings after
3 months, from last season's endeavour on the wiki, for everyone to have
alook at.

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