[SPAM] Re: Source of Eremurus spp.

Jim McKenney jimmckenney@jimmckenney.com
Sun, 28 Oct 2007 17:54:14 PDT
I know nothing about sources for Eremurus species; the only material I've
worked with in recent years is almost certainly of garden origin. But I have
learned a thing or two about Eremurus culture in our climate. 

Arnold cited winter wet as a problem for Eremurus in our eastern North
American climate. I hope he is wrong, because I never make any effort to
protect my plants from winter wet. In fact, in a normally cold winter, there
is not much winter wet because the wet is frozen solid. 

There are however two times in their growth cycle when I'm convinced they
need intervention on the part of the gardener. One is in late winter (or
rarely even in mid to late fall) when the sprouts appear above ground. Keep
something handy to cover them on nights when the temperature drops below
freezing. The other critical time is summer: if they are not kept dry they
are likely to disappear. I suspect that Eremurus, like so many other plants
which originate in dry summer areas, are mostly useless as garden plants for
us. That is, they are useless unless you accept covered beds as a normal
part of the garden scene. 

But that doesn't mean they can't be grown here. Several years ago I planted
two Eremurus (one the hybrid 'Romance' and the other nominally E. robustus)
in a raised bed which is covered during the summer.  They have both gotten
better yearly. The plant of 'Romance' was run down when planted in this bed:
it has bulked up nicely since being moved into this bed but has not yet
bloomed. The nominal E. robustus blooms every year or every other year and
is impressive. If hand pollinated it will set seed. 

Of the three species names one sees on most bulb lists (bungei/stenophyllus,
himalaicus and robustus) those sold as bungei might be true to name. I have
my doubts about the other two, but for garden purposes you're likely to get
something which answers to the catalog description other than name.

Somewhere around the house I have photos of the blooming  Eremurus robustus
and E. elwesii obtained from the Scheepers company back in the mid '60s. My
mother or sister took the photos with a Polaroid camera and sent them to me
(I was in the Army at the time). I remember that the rootstocks I planted
that year were much bigger than any I have seen in commerce since. And the
resulting plants were spectacular and bloomed in the eight to nine foot
range. By the time I got home from military duty there was no trace of them.


Jim McKenney
Montgomery County, Maryland, USA, USDA zone 7, where the rains have brought
up more autumn crocus.
My Virtual Maryland Garden http://www.jimmckenney.com/
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Webmaster Potomac Valley Chapter, NARGS 
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