Moraea polyanthos

Michael Mace
Wed, 14 Aug 2013 10:07:00 PDT
Ina wrote:

>> Can anyone enlighten me that they have actually seen the flower and that
it is worth growing?

I received this species two years ago from a friend, and am still learning
exactly how to treat it. At this point I'd call it a rewarding although not
spectacular Moraea, and I'm puzzled that you're having trouble with it.  A
couple of thoughts...

--The plants I've grown will bloom for a long period of time: several months
starting in spring and extending into summer. To me, that is their biggest
advantage. Just as the other Moraeas are winding down, these start blooming,
and they keep going.  After almost all of my other Moraeas had dried up and
gone dormant this year, these were still in bloom. I think if I'd been more
diligent about keeping the pots moist, they would have bloomed even longer.

--Alberto's right, yours should be blooming in ~December-January in your
climate. Your bulbs may be confused, and I wonder if that that might cause
erratic flowering. This species is widespread but comes mostly from parts of
South Africa that have low but irregular rainfall. I wonder if maybe your
bulbs are getting rain at the wrong time of year, going into growth
opportunistically, but then not getting the high temps and light levels they
need in order to flower well. You might try giving them a dry summer/autumn
and then watering them starting in mid-winter...

--The flowers are fairly small compared to other Moraeas, but there were
often multiple flowers open on a single day. They make a nice blue cluster.
According to Goldblatt's book, if they get more water they'll grow bigger.

--This is one of the Moraea species whose flowers last only a single day. In
the morning, you'll see buds getting ready to open. By midday they are
generally open, and then they close into little wrinkled nubs after the sun
leaves them. One thing to check, Ian, is how much sun your plants get, and
what time of day they're in sun. Mine are in full blazing sun all day, so
the flowers are open for a pretty long time.  I've noticed that with some of
the single-day flowering bulbs, as soon as they get any shade or even just a
reduction in sunlight they decide the sun is going down and they terminate
the flower fast. If your plants are in part shade, you might try them in
full sun -- especially with strong afternoon sun -- before you give up on

Hope this helps,

San Jose CA
(zone 9, min temp 20F / -6C)

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