Tropaeolum notes

Diana Chapman
Sat, 12 Jan 2008 09:13:21 PST
Hello Jane:

I am growing about ten different species of Tropaeolum, and I have often 
thought I would try dividing the tuber.  The tubers don't have a lot of 
growing points, unlike potatoes, usually having two or three, the smaller 
tubers only one.  The trouble with Tropaeolum tubers is that they seem very 
prone to rot if damaged at all.  I have difficulty storing the tubers for 
sale without some collapsing overnight into a mushy mess, while others stay 
firm.  I imagine if the tubers were divided they would have to be cured and 
the cut surface treated with a fungicide, and I hope next season to try this 
(if I remember!!).  I have read somewhere that you can take cuttings from 
the shoots, but they are so fragile I wonder if this would work.  I don't 
have a mist system at the moment, but when I get one set up I will try.

A few years ago I had lots of tree prunings and used my pear tree prunings 
for support for the growing vines.  They looked really lovely and very 
natural growing up the branches and twigs.  I don't have a source for twiggy 
branches any more, so now I use chicken wire cylinders which work very well 
but are not as attractive.

Telos Rare Bulbs
----- Original Message ----- 
From: "Jane McGary" <>
To: "Pacific Bulb Society" <>
Sent: Friday, January 11, 2008 3:56 PM
Subject: [pbs] Tropaeolum notes

> Some time back forum member Bill Dijk wrote an interesting note about the
> cultivation of small tuberous Tropaeolum species. I saved his contribution
> and would like to ask him if we can use a version of it in the Rock Garden
> Quarterly, but unfortunately his address didn't get saved with the text.
> Would Bill please write to me directly about this?
> Incidentally, Tropaeolum tricolor in my bulb frame has worked its way out
> of the covering lights and has extended its stem onto the superstructure 
> of
> the frame, despite occasional frost and far too much rain. So far the
> exposed part shows no damage.
> I wonder if anyone has successfully propagated these plants by cutting the
> tuber (which looks like a little potato). I've just been growing them from
> seed, which they set in small quantities. The seeds have elaiosomes 
> (fleshy
> bits on the tip) that apparently attract ants, because volunteer seedlings
> appear some distance from the parent plants in the frames. The tubers must
> have contractile roots when in growth, because they can be found at
> considerable depth. I like them very much, despite their propensity to try
> to strangle any other plant within reach. The best defense is to give them
> a support when planting the dormant tubers and make sure they stay on it.
> Jane McGary
> Northwestern Oregon, USA
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