Growing Tecophilaea Suggestions

Lee Poulsen
Mon, 21 Oct 2013 17:50:01 PDT
This may be dependent on the climate where you live, but here in inland southern California, I grow them almost exactly like I do Cape bulbs from South Africa. I grow them in pots in a well-drained medium that is probably at least half inorganic (pumice, gravel, lava rock, etc.). I start watering them a little around the time of the first rains in the autumn (October here, i.e., about now). They start emerging from summer dormancy in late autumn (November here) at which point I start watering them regularly if it doesn't rain often enough. I also give them a a 6-month type of timed-release granular fertilizer (Apex brand) at that time (since I don't have time to feed them diluted water-soluble fertilizer on a regular basis). And I leave them out in the open in full sun all winter and spring; we rarely get down to freezing or a couple of degrees below freezing. I think they're tolerant of a lot colder temperatures than we get here. They eventually bloom in the spring. To set seed all I have to do is take a small soft paintbrush and twirl it into the center of each flower and continue this until I've twirled each flower. Otherwise, they don't set seeds or set only a very few.

In late spring (May here), they begin going dormant as the temperatures rise and our rainfall stops. Once they're dormant I set the pots in a shady spot where they receive no water until the next autumn.

This is all I ever do and they multiply like crazy. I don't know why they're so expensive. It's easy to soon get a pot completely full of flowers, in about 3 years or so starting with 2 or 3 bulbs. The leichtlinii variety with the large white center and paler blue rim is actually the most vigorous of the three variants. But the stark blue variety is easily the most striking color. However, in my experience, the least vigorous.

--Lee Poulsen
Pasadena, California, USA - USDA Zone 10a
Latitude 34°N, Altitude 1150 ft/350 m

On Oct 21, 2013, at 4:41 PM, wrote:

> Hi All, 
> I purchased some bulbs of Tecophilaea. Any tips for successful growing would be helpful.
> Thanks in advance,
> Eric
> In Western NY where fall has finally arrived very wet

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