Tecophilaea Cyanocrocus

Lee Poulsen wpoulsen@pacbell.net
Thu, 01 Sep 2011 14:30:29 PDT
On Sep 1, 2011, at 1:26 PM, Ina Crossley wrote:

> What zoning will these little bulbs grow in?  Would my 9b-10 zoning be 
> too warm for them?  Do they need to be dry during dormancy?

As Alberto says, T. cyanocrocus come from a high enough altitude in the Chilean Andes that they could probably be considered USDA Zone 8. (Has anyone seen a good USDA Zone map of Chile and/or Argentina?)

However, I grow them in my USDA zone 10a southern California climate at 350 m altitude and they literally grow like weeds for me. I treat them very similarly to my South African Western Cape bulbs, keeping them dry and shaded during the summer and letting our winter rains fall on them naturally, which brings them out of dormancy in the autumn and in good growth through the winter. I'm not sure of the correlation, but it seems that in winters when we get too many dry warmer than average days they don't seem to bloom in nearly the profusion they do when we have long cool winters. Bill Dijk, who lives somewhere near you, seems to be able to get them to bloom amazingly prolifically. I grow them in a very well draining mix with lots of "rocky" material in the mix (coarse sand, pumice, crushed lava rock, crushed granite). However, even in years when they don't bloom as much as I'd like, the leaves still grow healthy and I get quite a few offsets. It makes me wonder why they are so expensive. 

I don't know if others have found this to be the case, but the var. leichtlinii is much more vigorous and blooms more profusely than either of the other two var.'s. It also produces more offsets as well. I've heard it suggested that it is the main species type and the other two are the varieties of it.

BTW, Osmani Baullosa of Santiago, Chile just posted photos of his Tecophilaea cyanocrocuses blooming, on Facebook. Other than the rediscovered ones growing in the wild somewhere, these might be the first ones blooming in captivity in their native land in a long time.

--Lee Poulsen
Pasadena, California, USA - USDA Zone 10a
Latitude 34°N, Altitude 1150 ft/350 m 

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