Resprouting Ornithogalum

Mary Sue Ittner
Mon, 14 Apr 2014 14:52:29 PDT
 From a post of mine from October 2003
>On this list at least Paul Tyerman and I have bemoaned the fact that 
>some of our Ornithogalum dubiums choose to remain under ground in 
>spite of our efforts. I think Lyn Edwards also reported on this list 
>or the ABA list of having amazing blooms one year only to find the 
>bulb had disappeared the next.
>So it was with great interest that we had a conversation with Andy 
>who is Rod and Rachel's partner in their tissue culture ventures. 
>Some of you who order seeds from Silverhill may remember a picture 
>in their latest catalog of Ornithogalums they were attempting to 
>grow and hybridize. The picture was really gorgeous guaranteed to 
>make anyone who saw it want these plants! Well this year a lot of 
>them have not come up which they have found very frustrating as they 
>want to sell them and if someone buys a lot of bulbs and they don't 
>come up that person is not going to be happy. Andy told us that they 
>were having the most trouble with their larger bulbs. Does this mean 
>that if a bulb blooms really well it needs a year or more to recover 
>he wonders? Should they only be selling bulbs that are a smaller size?
>They are experimenting with gibberelic acid to see if this will 
>help. Andy thinks that it is temperature that starts them into 
>growth. Theirs are stored dry and warm and he things that it is 
>cooler temperatures that initiates growth. So he wonders if you 
>could get successive blooms by keeping them warm and then moving one 
>pot at a time to a cooler place.
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 From a post I made to this list  in July 2007
>I'd like to comment also on Paul Tyerman's lament about the one 
>season of his orange Ornithogalum dubiums. I've had similar problems 
>and yellow ones I bought never flowered again so my yellow ones were 
>not better. Last year I unpotted all I had that had including the 
>ones that were not coming up  and put them in trays upstairs in my 
>house (the warmest spot in summer).  I was thinking of tossing them 
>and didn't get around to potting them for a long time and when I 
>looked at some of them they had tiny roots on the bottom. So I 
>potted the ones up that seemed to be rooting and had more blooming 
>this year than usual. I was told in South Africa by an exporter that 
>the Dutch won't let them send any unless they have a shoot. I'm 
>going to try this neglect system again this year and see if it will 
>stimulate them to grow again. Some never showed any signs of sprouting so I
>tossed those.
I was able to get Ornithogalum dubium to rebloom a number of years 
this way. But finally I tossed the rest.  I don't remember if this 
was because they didn't sprout or looked virused. They are so 
beautiful however that if you could get  two to four years of bloom 
out of them, it might be worth it to buy new ones from time to time. 
I never tried planting any in the ground. The only Ornithogalum I 
still grow and it is reliable year after year in my raised beds is 
Ornithogalum montanum (blooming at the moment).

Mary Sue Ittner
California's North Coast
Wet mild winters with occasional frost
Dry mild summers 

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