Growing Tecophilaea Suggestions

Jane McGary
Tue, 22 Oct 2013 12:11:02 PDT
I have grown Tecophilaea cyanocrocus for many years in a climate 
colder than Lee Poulsen's but not so cold as New York state. In 
nature it is a snowmelt plant, flowering when the volcanic-derived 
soil is quite moist; I think of it as having a similar cycle to 
deciduous Lewisia species and indeed they look beautiful together in 
bloom. I had in it pots for a long time but now it's in a raised bed 
under a transparent roof. Each corm usually produces one to three 
offsets each year, and seed is frequently set. Those I used to sell 
were mostly seedlings about three years old.

The main thing I can tell someone who has to grow it in a heated 
greenhouse is that it will need as much light as you can give it, and 
it must not be grown too warm. The plants I grew in a frost-free 
solarium never flowered as well as those in my old bulb frames, where 
the plants experienced winter temperatures in the 20s F. I think they 
look most in character when grown as hard as they can stand, since in 
the foothills of the Andes, within the snow zone, they would 
experience cold night temperatures while in growth.

According to the report of the botanists who rediscovered this 
species in the wild some years ago, the white-centered forms are more 
common in the populations they observed. I suspect the pure blue 
forms have been selected by growers over a long period and have 
become dominant in cultivation. The name "subsp. leichtlinii" for the 
white-centered forms is probably not valid, since these are just a 
common color variant. My seedlings show a range of color patterns.

Jane McGary
Portland, Oregon, USA

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