Calochortus notes

Mary Sue Ittner
Wed, 26 Jun 2013 13:22:34 PDT
When I read Jane's Calochortus report, I was envious as I've lost a 
lot of them over the years. At this stage in my bulb addiction 
/passion when I'm trying to grow less it has become the survival of 
the fittest.  I'm glad Nhu has found a way to be successful although 
I must admit I am always amused when he describes Berkeley, 
California's winters as "too wet." I too have lived in Berkeley and 
compared to Southern California, 26 inches (681 mm) may seem wet, but 
it is not as wet as Portland's average yearly total of 37 inches (942 
mm) or where I live 50 inches for last 8 years (1270 mm). It's all 
relative. And as Mike Mace's excellent article in The Bulb Garden and 
wiki pages on climate point out, very complicated. Where I live I've 
lost almost all of the ones from dry climates (C. clavatus, C. weedii 
I did see bloom before they succumbed.) I was thrilled this year when 
someone on this list suggested moth balls for chipmunks since last 
year "something" ate almost all of the Calochortus flowers (alas.) I 
stuck one moth ball in each pot and except for possibly one flowering 
stalk, this year the others made it.

I found my Mariposa newsletter from October 1990 where calochorti for 
specific climates was listed. This was when Hugh McDonald was editing 
it. I don't know if you will all agree and if all these species still 
have the same names, but here is what he suggested.

1. Mild, moist climates
C. albus, C. amabilis, C. amoenus, C. pulchellus, C. monophyllus, C. 
tolmiei, C. umbellatus, C. uniflorus, C. catalinae, C. palmerae, C. 
splendens, C. venustus, C. superbus, C. vestae, C. luteus, C. 
simulans, C. clavatus, C. plummerae, C. weedii, C. obispoensis, C. 
fuscus, C. ghiesbreghtii, C. barbatus, C. spatulatus, C. pringlei, C. 
cernuus, C. purpureus, C. hartwegii

This would be a good adjective for my climate, but I've failed over 
time with a lot of the above. This year of less than average rainfall 
C. superbus did the best and C. vestae, which has been good for me 
over time did not bloom. It  is supposed to like a lot of moisture in 
growth and fertilizer as well and didn't have either of those this 
year. C. uniflorus is the easiest for me and I usually have blooms on 
C. tolmiei. I don't have great luck with C. venustus although because 
it increases by offsets, that means I am producing new ones to make 
up for the ones that die. In this drier year I had a few blooms.

2. Mild, dry climates
C. albus, C. catalinae, C. flexuosus, C. dunnii, C. splendens, C. 
striatus, C. venustus, C. concolor, C. kennedyi, C. clavatus, C. 
ambiguus, C. plummerae, C. weedii, C. barbatus, C. spatulatus, C. 
pringlei, and that other Mexican cyclobothras, if they are kept moist 
in summer and dry in winter.

3. Cold, dry climates	
C. elegans, C. longebarbatus, C. nitidus, C. eurycarpus, C. 
flexuosus, C. leichtlinii, C. macrocarpus, C. nuttallii, C. kennedyi, 
C. ambiguus, C. gunnisoni, C. aureus, C. bruneaunis, and the higher 
elevation Mexican ssp. (C. venustulus and high altittude C. barbatus

4. Cold, moist climates
C. albus (Sierra form), C. apiculatus, C. coeruleus, C. elegans, C. 
lyallii, C. subalpinus, C. minimus, C. nudus, C. nitidus, C. greenei, 
C. howellii, C. persistens, C. palmerae, C. superbus, C. vestae, C. 
luteus, C. leichtlinii, C. invenustus

Hopefully I spelled all those correctly. Many years ago Jim Robinett 
suggested that in my wetter climate I grow them in deep wooden pots 
and avoid plastic and I think this advice was helpful. I really need 
to repot this year so it's nice to have some new ideas to try.

Mary Sue

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