Tecophilaea from seed

Jane McGary janemcgary@earthlink.net
Sun, 24 Aug 2008 10:45:40 PDT
I have grown many Tecophilaea cyanocrocus from seed over the years, having 
purchased three corms around 1991. Since the plants rarely increase more 
than 100% per year vegetatively, it's advisable to do this.

I plant the seed in my normal mix (equal parts coarse sand, ground pumice, 
and peat) in fall and leave them outside until the weather drops seriously 
below freezing, when I bring them into a cool frost=free sunroom with the 
other seeds. I don't think it gets up to 70 F very often in there, even on 
sunny days. They usually germinate in midwinter, two to three months after 
sowing, and grow on for three to five months.

The big problem with growing Tecophilaea under glass is etiolation (the 
leaves become long and lax). Once I have corms (which can be identified 
readily after the first growing season), I put them in the bulb frames, 
where they experience winter temperatures into the 20s F while in growth. I 
find this species (which is subalpine in nature, growing as a snowmelt 
plant apparently in similar conditions to our deciduous Lewisia species) 
stays in character and flowers much better when grown as hard as possible. 
I think as long as the foliage is not wet, it can stand quite a bit of 
frost at night. The seedlings are also attacked by aphids when grown 
frost-free, but I rarely get aphids in the bulb frames. I use a granular 
systemic insecticide to combat aphids in the sunroom seed trays.

Jane McGary
Northwestern Oregon, USA

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