Research Question on Zephyranthes grandiflora

J.E. Shields
Sat, 06 Dec 2008 12:22:47 PST
Hi Martin,

That sounds like an interesting problem.  There is clearly something 
associated with rainfall that triggers bloom in rain lilies.

I too grow my rain lilies in pots here in central Indiana.  The pots spend 
the summers outdoors in full sun and the winters inside a greenhouse, 
usually dry and out of the way under a bench.  Their winter treatment is 
very probably suboptimal to say the least.  In summer, I can get  markedly 
increased flowering of my potted rain lilies by standing the pots in 
saucers and keeping the saucers full of water.  Even so, a natural rainfall 
does a better job of triggering flowering.

I wish you luck in your study.  I will be eager to hear what conclusions 
you can draw when it is finished; I'm sure others in this group will be 
equally interested.

Best regards,
Jim Shields
in Westfield, Indiana -- a suburb of Indianapolis.

At 12:39 PM 12/6/2008 -0600, you wrote:
>My name is Martin Stone and my student, Shelton Slack, and I are working
>on a research project growing _Zephyranthes grandiflora_.  We are at
>Western Kentucky University in Bowling Green, about an hour north of
>Nashville,  TN.  We experience warm summers and cold winters and are
>located in USDA hardiness zone 6 which means in an average winter we
>will experience at least one low temperature between 0 deg F and
>negative 10 deg. F.  We have divided my large, old, potted clump into
>smaller pots and are growing them  in a greenhouse with temps no cooler
>than 65 deg. F.  We want to observe their flowering and try to answer
>the old question about what induces flowering.  They are growing well
>after having been potted since September.  We would like to know:
>1.  Is there a period after transplanting during which flowering does
>not occur?  How long do we wait?
>2.  Is flowering sensitive to the daylength?
>3.  and the big question:  Does anyone have clues into the nature of the
>flowering?  There is not much scientific literature out there and the
>two main sources are a little dated and conflict.
>On a personal note, I have grown a potfull for the last dozen years from
>a single corm.  They are all clones of the original plant, which is a
>bonus in this  study.  They stay outside until winter, when I bring them
>into the greenhouse.  But in the summer, I water my pot with the hose
>every day and I see sporadic flowering.  After a rain, there is a burst
>of flowers a day or so afterwards.  I believe the flower buds are
>pre-formed and staying dormant until something about  a rain event
>triggers them to elongate and open.  Is it temperature fluctuation
>associated with a rain event?  Is is cool rain water?  Is it a drop in
>barometric pressure (seems unlikely but who knows?).  What do you  think
>and what are your observations?
>Thanks in Advance and I look forward to your advice and thoughts.
>My Best,
>Martin Stone, Ph.D.
>Assistant Professor,
>Leichhardt Professor of Horticulture
>Department of Agriculture
>Western Kentucky University
>1906 College Heights Blvd. #41066
>Bowling Green, KY 42101-1066
>Office (270) 745-5963
>Fax (270) 745-5972

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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