Griffinia is worth the wait

Ton Wijnen
Thu, 29 Apr 2010 08:10:48 PDT
Jakob, magnificient. Yes, you may have lots of patience.
I have also growing some species, but did not flowering yet.
Kind regards

Ton Wijnen
The Netherlands

-----Oorspronkelijk bericht-----
Van: []
Namens Jacob Knecht
Verzonden: donderdag 29 april 2010 2:15
Aan: Pacific Bulb Society
Onderwerp: [pbs] Griffinia is worth the wait

Dear PBS members,

For those who are in the first few years of growing *Griffinia*, namely *G.
espiritensis *var.* espiritensis, *I just wanted to say that they do perform
better with time.  I have uploaded some pictures to my flickr account of
last May's bloom:… .

As with many amaryllids, they have their own minds made up about how things
should be done.  In my experience, they like to take their time. I began
with a bulb purchased for $45 in 2004 as 'blooming size' that still took two
years to bloom even under ideal greenhouse conditions.  This species (or
clone of it) is a prolific multiplier and rather stoloniferous.  In the past
5 years, from a single bulb, it has probably produced about 100 baby clone
bulbs.  I have found that unlike many bulbs that have to reach their
ultimate size dimension before reproducing asexually from the basal plate,
my original  *Griffinia espiritensis* var. *espiritensis* bulb is still
increasing in size and bloom capacity 4 years after its first bloom and many
many pups later.  I have been weeding out the pups that appear almost as
grass and sharing them with botanical gardens in Hawai'i, and allowing the
original bulb and the three largest pups to stick together.  Last year a
total of 11 inflorescences were produced from the 4 bulbs, of which 4 spikes
came from the oldest bulb.  The flower count from the largest bulb is still
increasing as well.

Aside from being so mature, it also helps that in 2009 it was in luxuriating
in the full glory of the high humidity and rainfall of Upper Mānoa Valley.
It is a true rainforest bulb that enjoys shade and is quite tolerant of
forest debris falling on it.  While it benefits from humidity, I have also
found them to perform well as a house-plant in both northern and southern
California, the latter often being quite dry. The only downside for us
horticulturists is this species' proclivity to allow its inflorescences to
tumble down into a horizontal position at the slightest disturbance!  Surely
this is an advantage in a rain forest, allowing developing seeds to be
deposited directly onto the ground.  My clone is self-sterile and after many
pollination attempts, I have given up hoping it to be otherwise.  I do hope
to obtain seeds one day or another clone so that propagation from seed might
be possible.

Side note: I believe that if we hope for a healthy future for our beloved
geophytes in cultivation, and especially if we wish for them to survive us,
we must strive to propagate them sexually even if baby clone bulbs abound!
Viruses and other threats are always lurking, and the chance to start fresh
again from seed is the very best thing we can do to perpetuate these plants,
at least *ex situ*.

For *Griffinia* growers, remember it gets better!

Jacob Knecht
now in Berkeley, California for a while


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