Sun, 25 Nov 2012 13:57:15 PST
The seeds which I sent to Janus Agoston in Hungary were not Cardiocrinum giganteum but CC cathayanum and glehnii. Their cultivation is varied from that of Cardiocrinum giganteum or Cardiocrinum yunnanense and would be predicated on the local climate in terms of both winter temperature and summer heat wherever they are being cultivated. These two taxa are the smallest by overall mature heights with C. glehnii being the smallest. High ambient air temperatures, low humidity and strong direct sunlight are best avoided, as too late Spring frosts which we can get right through 'till June requiring protection overnight with white horticultural fleece

Cardiocrinum cathayanum is probably the least understood or with cultivation experience in the West however here in northern Scotland it performs well and is not very challenging whereas Cardiocrinum glehnii is a cool temperate and even coastal boreal, my stock is from both northern Japan and Far Eastern Russia where winter temperatures can be quite severe. All four taxa preferentially grow under the open canopy of broadleaf or mixed broadleaf light or open forest cover invariably in soils with a high humus content or litter.

In the experience at this location the bulbs which are never far from the surface will survive down to - 20 to - 25 C winter temperatures providing they have a reliable covering of snow to at least 50 - 60 cms however on the precautionary principle we also dump a significant covering of the current year's leaf litter with a light covering of sand or gritty soil to ensure it doesn't get blown off should the snow fail. We have worked both with the removal in May of all or most of the leaf litter but recently due to illness this did not happen during the past two winters, I simply forgot to do so and all the bulbs of all four taxa came up hail and hearty. Soil pH seems preferentially to be on the acidic side, e.g. 4.5 to 6.0 but I understand that providing adequate moisture is available when growing Cardiocrinums can cope in alkaline soils.Cardiocrinum are gross feeders and have high water demands when in growth but must be very well drained when dormant or will rot really fast,
  usually due to frozen tissues being quickly damaged. Should conditions suit them they will readily colonise and have done so e.g. in cooler parts of Australia.

As far as seed sowing is concerned, this can either be done in the Autumn as done here most years and overwintered out of doors with no discernable losses in my experience. Sowing is undertaken in deep plastic seed trays with a light covering of well composted leaf litter and grown on in situ for 2 - 3 years prior to pricking out into individual pots or final planting site[s]. Alternatively artificial breaking of dormancy can be done by the regular in and out of the fridges set at c. 0 C + or - as for most Liliaceous genera. Germination in any one batch of seed is generally irregular which may be an evolutionary adaptation to ensure continuity. Predation by slugs is our worst problem but semi-mature bulbs and the regular bulb offsets from the same seem generally more or less immune in Scotland or mainland Europe from rodent damage however I suspect that the North American experience might well be a whole different story. All taxa are being treated at full specific level in th
 e new Lily monograph based on several comparative criteria observed at first hand, a potentially uncomfortable position for a taxonomic 'lumper' to find himself in, no doubt there will be other equally valid views. Ce la vie!


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