Sleeping Beauties from South America
Wed, 12 Mar 2008 14:15:26 PDT
Some years ago, a pot of Beauverdia sellowiana (aka Ipheion 
sellowianum, and now considered as Nothoscordum something-or-other) 
was exposed to more cold than it could handle. But instead of the 
bulbs rotting away, they simply went totally dormant. Every year I'd 
inspect the pot, note the absence of new growth, tip it out, and see 
endless bulbs just sitting there with no trace of root or top growth.

The smaller bulblets dwindled in numbers, but the larger ones seemed 
to hold their own.

Someone posted a message here on the PBS mailing list in which they 
mentioned using heat to give some sluggish amaryllidaceous plant a 
kick in the ribs and wake up to active growth. Following this tip, I 
moved my Beauverdia into the house and parked in inside a south-
facing patio door where it got full sun most of the day and the soil 
was warmed up well and truly.

This strategy worked; the Beauverdia soon came back to life and has 
thriven to this day, though flowers remain few.

This last week I was making the rounds of the coldframes and observed 
two other Iphieon-ish bulbs showed only a very few grassy leaves. 
These were seedlings of Ipheion 'Alberto Castillo' and Ipheion 'Rolf 
Fiedler' (now Tristagma something-or-other). On tipping the pots out, 
it was the same story all over again with both of them: plenty of 
healthy bulbs, but no roots and no top growth.

These are now undergoing the patio door treatment and I have my 
fingers crossed. I'll give this mailing list a report in a month or 
two when the experiment will have failed or succeeded.

I wonder how widespread in the Amaryllidaceae this kind of behavior 
is. Has anyone else noticed it and, if so, in what species? Or is 
this behavior restricted to Ipheion and its close relatives?

PS: Ipheion uniflora itself seems immune to cold: flats of seedlings 
of 'Froyle Mill' exposed to the full onslaught of winter cold and 
rain have plenty of foliage and even some flowers.

Rodger Whitlock
Victoria, British Columbia, Canada
Maritime Zone 8, a cool Mediterranean climate

on beautiful Vancouver Island

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