Leo A. Martin
Tue, 09 May 2006 14:15:22 PDT
> Leo, I found one aspect of your advice for growing
> [Babiana] intriguing, so much so that I'm giving
> into the temptation to ask you if you followed it
> yourself.


I tried the Park 'Babiana stricta' two years in a row planting them in the
spring, as soon as they arrived. They never even sprouted. By midsummer
when I dug them up to look they were rotten.

The third year I ordered them from Parks (7 or 8 years ago - I didn't know
there were any other sources) I put them in the crisper drawer. I planted
them the following fall when the nights were good and cool. The plants
straggled up and lived. They didn't bloom, perhaps partially because of
the long hibernation, and partially because I didn't realize how much
water I needed to give them. The next spring they went dormant, and
returned again the following fall as they have ever since. They don't
bloom every year, perhaps because I don't always remember to keep them wet
in the winter. In the summer I leave the pot outside in the shade, dry.

> You advised that spring purchased corms be put into the
> crisper drawer of the refrigerator until late fall.
> But aren't the corms offered in the spring corms held
> in cold storage from the previous autumn?
> That is, corms which should have been planted in the
> autumn of the spring prior to purchase?
> By putting them in the crisper, aren't you in effect
> keeping them in cold storage for an entire year?

I don't know how they're handled by the growers and dealers.

> And what happens to make getting them through the
> first summer a problem.

In Phoenix,

    high summer temperatures
                     + water
      + winter-growing bulbs
             = rotten bulbs.

> I know from my own (meager) experience with spring
> planted Sparaxis that they surge into growth almost
> immediately; some bloom, most don't (presumably
> because of the heat). Some go dormant, some don't.

> In either case, they pop back into active growth in
> the autumn. The one or two samples I tried didn't
> die during the summer. It's not as hot here as in
> Phoenix, but it's hot and wet.
> Can Sparaxis be grown outside year 'round in Phoenix?

Well, Sparaxis... Hybrids are available locally in nurseries in the fall,
which is when I planted them. Mine are in a raised bed I use for growing
flowers and vegetables all year (without a raised bed I would be growing
rabbit food.) So, they get regular water all year. The Sparaxis don't mind
this. Neither does... uhh... whatever is that red amaryllid from central
South America... rhodosomething? The Ixia hybrids I planted in that bed
disappeared over the years, and the Chasmanthe didn't come back even once.
And Babiana hybrids don't like water during the summer here.

Leo Martin
Phoenix Arizona USA

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