Spacing in pots

Michael Mace
Tue, 30 Oct 2012 09:48:12 PDT
Shmuel wrote:

>> Romulea sabulosa I have 6 bulbs.  Moraea aristata -… recommends a 30cm
pot, but does not say how many bulbs in it.

I think this is one of those "it depends" issues.  In this case, it depends
on how often you want to repot your bulbs.

I repot every two years, and am constantly trying to find ways to go longer
between repotting (because it's so much work).  The longer you wait between
repottings, the more space you have to give to the bulbs when you start
them.   Moraea aristata offsets very vigorously.  When happy, it can produce
one to three offsets (via stolons) per bulb per year.  So if you start with
four corms and make them happy you'll have as many as 16 the next year, and
over 50 the following year.  In reality this doesn't happen because the
offsetting process slows down as the pot gets crowded, but the general
effect is that within three years your pot will be full of corms and the
rate of blooming will drop off dramatically.

Or anyway, that's what happens to me.

So, back to your question, I find that using a 20cm (8-inch) pot, the
maximum number of M. aristata per pot is about 5 to 6.  Any more and you may
inhibit blooming in the first year and definitely will the second.  (They do
fine in 20-cm pots, by the way.  They do not grow particularly deep.)

Some Romuleas, like R. sabulosa, tolerate more crowding.  But they offset
rapidly in tight clusters, and if you don't separate the clusters they start
to (in my experience) die in the middle and flowering drops off.  So again
I'd start with about 5-6 in a 20-cm pot and plan on repotting every two
years to three years.

Good luck! And please let us know what works for you.

San Jose, CA

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