storing winter-growing bulbs during dormancy

Peter Taggart
Thu, 25 Oct 2012 22:59:53 PDT
I find Leo's details and observations interesting, - and they are important
for the understanding of growth patterns of the bulbs concerned.

However they should not distract people from the basic idea that very few
summer growing bulbs will thrive if they are stored out of the ground in
either desiccating or hot wet environments.
There are always many people who  are trying new types of plant who make
mistakes fatal to their new and expensive plants due to reading such detail
before understanding general good practice.

The first Rhinopetalum I tried to grow was Fritillaria bucharica. An author
on a book about Fritillaria gave a talk at the local rock garden club,
where I asked his advice. Prior to that I had certainly kept such bulbs too
dry, not allowing that even dessert bulbs need moisture in order to grow.
His advice was "put it out in the rain .. yes it will take all the water it
can get at this time of year!" that was a wet October. The plant was in an
appropriate soil mix (not that he asked) and the bulb was dead in three
days. Even then I had about 25 years of extensive experience in handling
many types of plants. I now know enough that I believe I could grow
Fritillaria bucharica in the ground, even in wet years. I don't bother

Yes, I do soak such bulbs on occasion, and yes, I do water in summer, and
yes, I do 'bake' many bulbs with good results, but the basic principles
which avoid dessication and rot are much more important to explain first.

On Fri, Oct 26, 2012 at 5:51 AM, Leo A. Martin <> wrote:

> Some of us have watered our southern African bulbs during the summer on
> purpose or through carelessness and have not had problems. The Great
> Karroo areas can get some summer rain, which generally comes from the
> northeast but doesn't reach the south coast of Africa, in contrast to the
> winter rain, which generally comes from the southwest and doesn't reach
> too far inland. The Karroo area is in the overlap.
> But realize that some winter-growing plants may die if watered even once
> during hot weather.

> The fleshy-rooted Amaryllidaceae are another situation.

These plants struggle in my care unless I manage to keep their
> roots alive during their long dormancy, especially first-year seedlings.

More information about the pbs mailing list