Lapageria rosea
Fri, 17 Sep 2010 15:51:35 PDT
Hi Jim,
I've had 2 large lapageria here in NY for about three years, plus some seedlings grown from fresh Chilean seed.  I summer them outdoors in partial shade, and bring them indoors for winter--the 2 large plants go to my classroom in a large north window, but also get supplemental light from florescent fixtures that I have hanging from the suspended ceiling.  I notice that the lapagerias have lost more leaves than normal this (hot) summer, but the cool weather revives them and they always do well in my classroom.  They bloom on and off all year, but during hot summer weather the flower color fades a bit.  Seedlings are REALLY slow to grow, this must be one of those plants that has to get to a certain size before it takes off. Each new growth gets bigger than the one from the year before it.  As for the two larger plants, I got them on a visit to California a few summers ago, they were in a nursery that sold mostly rhododendrons (maybe it was Sequoia nursery, or something like that).  Ingnoring all the dire warnings I had read about disturbing the roots, I barerooted both plants with a hose the day before flying back to NY, wrapped the roots in wet paper towels and placed them in gallon ziplock bags, along with all the other barerooted plants I prepared, packed them in my luggage, and got them home safely.  I repotted the next day into a mix I made of Miracle Gro container mix, peat moss, and perlite.  Luckily this was at the end of summer, so cooler weather no doubt facilitated their reestablishment.  The roots were never bone dry, I think that was also an important factor in their easy adjustment.
Interestingly, the flower petals can be sliced into thin sections and put in salt water on a slide, and the cells will shrivel and darken in much the same way as red onion skin cells do, which we bio teachers typically use to show the kids what plasmolysis is.  I've posted about lapagerias in my classroom somewhere in an older post on my blog. 
They do not have bulbs, rather a thin short rhizome, and somewhat thick roots.  I train the stems to loop around on three bamboo stakes, they will travel further afield if allowed.  They seem to grow a bit more during winter indoors than in the summer months for me. 
I don't think lapageria is particularly hard to grow, but it does not like excessive heat nor anything other than very gentle morning sun, no blazing sunlight for this plant.  If you want a REAL challenge for a cool growing plant, try growing Impatiens tinctoria, it will make growing lapageria seem like child's play : ) .  Seeds, if fresh, can be stored in the fridge on wet paper towels in small ziplocks, observed periodically until they show germination, then planted out in pots--seedlings need reasonably cool conditions to complete gerrmination, and are quite sensitive to drought.  
Hope this info helps,
Ernie DeMarie
Tuckahoe NY


-----Original Message-----
From: James Waddick <>
To: Pacific Bulb Society <>
Sent: Fri, Sep 17, 2010 11:55 am
Subject: [pbs] Lapageria rosea

Dear Friends,
	Thanks to a fellow PBS er, I just got a few seedlings of 
apageria rosea.  This may be totally futile, but as I looked around 
 saw little info on my favorite site: The PBS wiki. In fact, there 
s no entry at all.
	So a few Qs for more knowledgeable PBSers:
	Does Lapageria rosea have a bulb (tuber or enlarged root)?
	Has anyone outside of Greater San Francisco especially the 
id-west had success with this species?
	I know UC Bot Garden Berkeley has a great collection but who 
lse even grows it?
	Can anyone suggest good growing conditions?
	Any words of warning?		Thanks		Jim W.
r. James W. Waddick
871 NW Brostrom Rd.
ansas City Missouri 64152-2711
h.    816-746-1949
one 5 Record low -23F
Summer 100F +
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