Galanthus requirements

Sun, 27 Jan 2008 15:46:21 PST
Dear Jim,
If only you could get Galanthus cilicicus and G.fosteri in some good forms 
you may have better results.These species don't mind drought or heat quite 
so much as any others,in act they are quite tender especially G.cilicicus 
which I have to protect from the worst of the cold.G.peshmenii may be a good 
bet too..G.woronowii grows in wet places in the wild ,in damp meadows and 
light wet woodlands.So I wouldn't bother with this species.Some G.gracilis 
forms perhaps too?But even these grow in wet places in Turkey,albeit 
seasonally wet.I have no experience of the wild conditions of G.elwesii so 
cannot advise there.All snowdrops are heavy feeders anyway so dust is never 
an option ever really.
So frustrating that I can't send you some bulbs as you could even grow some 
things better than me!
Kind regards,
----- Original Message ----- 
From: "Jim McKenney" <>
To: "'Pacific Bulb Society'" <>
Sent: Monday, January 28, 2008 12:21 AM
Subject: Re: [pbs] Galanthus phyto requirements

>I reading John Grimshaw's comments on storage of dormant Galanthus bulbs, I
> notice something which might have been insignificant to him yet might have
> some importance to us (i.e. those of us here in eastern North America).
> John argues that snowdrop bulbs should be fine in dry storage if they are
> kept cool and dry.
> During the bad old days when collected bulbs regularly appeared in the 
> local
> garden centers, Galanthus plantings always gave irregular first year
> results. Some bulbs simply didn't grow at all; some grew but only 
> haltingly
> and without blooming; and some never missed a beat, grew and bloomed.
> Generally speaking, the ones which grew and bloomed were forms of 
> Galanthus
> elwesii and related forms.
> And again generally speaking the ones which grew haltingly and didn't 
> bloom
> well often turned out to be Galanthus nivalis or related forms.
> Furthermore, the commonly marketed double-flowered form of Galanthus 
> nivalis
> behaved no better than the typical form - and if it bloomed the first year
> the flowers were generally small and not full.
> Two years ago, with the permission of the site manager, I dug a thick 
> clump
> of a double-flowered Galanthus nivalis (growing in the mud by the way)
> naturalized at a local estate. These plants had the best, fullest double
> flowers I had ever seen in this plant. After the foliage died down, the
> bulbs were stored in the clod of soil in which they were dug; they were
> placed in a cold frame in the rain shadow of the house. They were dry all
> summer, but they were also hot. The bulbs were planted in the garden in 
> the
> fall, but the first year results were disappointing: for one thing, the
> clump didn't seem to be very thick. And for another, few of the plants
> bloomed. Also, and this is the part which really disappointed me, the few
> flowers formed were malformed and not at all what I expected. Last year 
> they
> were a bit better.
> Local retail shops sometimes sell what I believe is Galanthus woronowii:
> this one too performs badly from dry bulbs.
> Open to question is the cause of all of this. I've always assumed that it
> was because the bulbs were kept too dry. But John's comments make me 
> wonder
> if in addition to being dry the bulbs were kept too warm. It's hard to 
> avoid
> that in our climate.
> Last summer, an unusually hot and dry one for us, seems to have cooked one
> or two of my Fritillaria: when I checked in mid-summer, all I could find
> were mummies: dry shriveled things with no sign of rot. The same happened
> with Galanthus reginae-olgae and one of the Erythronium, too.
> I'm still finessing this business of summer moisture for dormant bulbs.
> Under my conditions, dryer seems better than moister for many otherwise
> difficult bulbs. Common sense should have told me that no Galanthus or
> Erythronium needs the Kalahari treatment: live and learn.
> Jim McKenney
> Montgomery County, Maryland, USA, USDA zone 7, where the protected cold
> frame has been wide open all day.
> My Virtual Maryland Garden
> Webmaster Potomac Valley Chapter, NARGS
> Editor PVC Bulletin
> Webmaster Potomac Lily Society
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> pbs mailing list

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