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Messages - Uli

Bulb and Seed Exchanges / Comments on my donation
April 28, 2023, 06:54:03 AM
Dear All,

Here are some comments on my donation for the current bulb and seed exchange.


Amorphophallus atroviridis:
Rare in cultivation. Beautiful deep green divided foliage with a pink picotee edge. Mottled leaf stalks. The flowers are relatively small and pale yellow, no evil smell, not really interesting. I had no seed set. Flowering tubers do not produce a leaf in the same season, the tubers on offer are not of flowering size. A striking foliage plant. Easy to grow in a warm spot with good light out of direct sunlight. Summer growing with dry winter dormancy, increases fairly well. 

Dioscorea discolor: plant the tuber as soon as possible on arrival and give gentle bottom heat. It will still be slow to sprout but without bottom heat it will take ages. Once started it will grow fast into a vigorous vine with beautiful foliage. Give good light to get good leaf coloration. Fertilize and water well, increases in number and size of the tubers. From Bolivia. Makes a robust house plant on a suitable trellis. Will go dormant fairly late in the year, keep completely dry then, otherwise it will rot. 
Pictures in the WIKI 

Oxalis elegans:
From Ecuador, summer growing and winter dormant. Beautiful colour combination of deep pink flowers, a green centre which is surrounded by a deep purple ring. Attractive foliage as well. Some bulbs were given to me more than 20 years ago by a friendly gardener of Göttingen Botanical Garden. I have given it to as many people as possible. So I could get it back after I lost it. With others of my summer growing Oxalis it succumbed to a fungal rust infection towards the end of summer when the weather turned damp. That was before I moved to Portugal. O. elegans is slow to increase and does not like hot conditions, so I am not sure if I can maintain it in Portugal. Give it full sun but make sure that the pot does not get hot. It seems to be very rare in cultivation.

Oxalis stipularis or decaphylla.
Received very many years ago from a friend who collected it in Mexico but without a name. Summer growing and winter dormant. This one is easy to grow and makes a very attractive pot plant. The foliage is the interesting part, very finely cut into many branching segments. Small pale lilac flowers. Increases easily. Rare in cultivation as well. 
Pictures of both of these oxalis are in the WIKI 
Hello Diane,

Yes, that is my book, too.

Hello Åke,

You made me smile when you mention the "damned fly"......
As I had no solution to your question I looked it up in my Arisaema book and came across this interesting section: they state that most species are self sterile and even different clones do not always set seed due to the lack of suitable pollinators, the method in the attachment is working well. They write about Arisaema in the open garden, but I think you grow your flowering plants under glass, do you? I hope that the authors of the book do not mind me posting this and I hope it is readable.

All the best 

Hello Piotr,

Yes, I do see some red spotting on adult Hippeastrum bulbs but it does not seem to harm them. All of my Hippeastrum are growing outdoors, most of them in pots but if I have a lot (from seed) I try at least part of them in the open ground. Only the seedlings are kept under glass. My winters in Portugal are frost free and Hippeastrum grow in many gardens. 
Yes, most of my Hippeastrum but not all is raised from seed. 
Narcissus fly and rodents are the biggest enemy.

Your seedlings look very good! I start gently fertilizing at this stage.

Dear members living in the EU,

Please give Martin a shout( ) if you have a donation for the second round of the EU spring Exchange. There have been some but not very many donations so far so that the final round for this spring could be started if nothing else is to be expected. If you have something to donate we will wait for it but it would be very kind to let Martin know. We will close the donation time window in a few days, this will be announced through the same channels.
Please do not hesitate to contact Uli ( if you have any questions.

Uli and Martin 
So difficult to capture the colors of this plant. The flowers only open in direct sun but for the pictures I had to bring the pot to a shady position. Then the slender shoots sway in the slightest of breeze. I tried different backgrounds to bring the colors as naturally as possible. It's fairly okay but the original still looks better. The plant is about 85cm tall, measured from the rim of the pot.
Here it is, one of the glorious South African spring bulbs. Surprisingly easy and fast from seed.

Hello Piotr,

This is a most interesting thread! 
Stagonospora is not really my problem with Amaryllids. The most annoying pest I have here in Portugal is Narcissus fly. I have never seen them but I find the empty, rotting bulbs. Some genera seem to be less affected, like Amaryllids belladonna and Nerine but Hippeastrum, Zephyranthes and Habranthus, Sternbergia and the larger Narcissus themselves are affected to the point of disappearing entirely. Growing in shade does not help. 
The second pest are voles. I have to grow valuable bulbs in pots. Hippeastrum and Iridaceae like species gladiolus, Ixia, Babiana are particularly vulnerable. And Lilium, of course.

Chileflora is notorious for their bad or non existing communication with customers, there were rumors that they had closed down but it is good to know that they are still there. I have grown some very good plants like Alstroemerias from their seed. The quality of their seed has always been very good.

If you are just starting to grow bulbs from seed: are you familiar with the WIKI? Here is a link to a very good article
I have also written one for the Bulb Garden which I can let you have. (Need your email address) I can only recommend to raise bulbs from seed, it is so rewarding. Nothing more exciting than the first flower from a batch of your own seedlings.
If you read several articles on this subject you will see that many ways lead to success which means that you will eventually find your own best way, this applies to the seed substrate as well. And then it is worthwhile sharing your experience because there is always something new to discover for others.

Bye for now 

Hello again, Piotr,

I could maybe try planting some, but from what I read, most people observed that when they planted seeds with roots which did not have any leaves yet, they all died.

Have you tried that Uli?

Yes, I normally do not wait until I get a leaflet on floating seed. I keep thinking that the seed would use up all its stored energy germinating in water which does not contain any nutrients whereas in suitable substrate there would be nutrients available. I have lost some seedlings in the process of transplanting but this may have other causes like sciaridae flies for example. They are much more aggressive here in Portugal than they used to be in my former greenhouse in Germany. 
Another thing: I now think that there is a myth about papery Amaryllid seed being short lived. It is the fleshy green round type of Amaryllid which cannot be stored. The papery black seed can certainly be stored in appropriate conditions for several months without losing viability. If you consider the natural habitat and climate where most of papery seed bearing Amaryllid species come from, their seed must be able to survive the dry season following seed set. Fleshy seed bearers flower before the autumn rain starts and their fast ripening seed falls to the ground with the onset of winter rain, at least more or less. 
I am writing this because water flotation is not mandatory for papery seed. I only use it for seed which was stored for longer than might be good. If your seed puts out roots within days of floating this means two things: firstly the quality is very good (may I ask if it is from Chileflora?) and secondly it is from a desert plant which has to hurry to get a plantlet big enough before the moisture from the rain is gone for a possibly long time. Seed of desert bulbs must be able to survive for longer by the nature of its habitat.
If I have fresh seed from my own plants I sow directly in substrate and cover with a thin layer of white sand to deter my sciaridae. Excellent results.
I took the attached picture this morning. It shows seedlings of different ages, all planted after root formation but not leafing with the water flotation method. All of this seed was stored for more than 8 months at least prior to floating. The longest time from floating to root forming was in Cyrtanthus montanus with up to two weeks. 
The next candidate for flotation is seed of Pamianthe peruviana which was given to me but I do not know how old it is.

Hello Piotr,

Welcome to the forum, you have posted at the right spot.
Your pictures are very good and explain the problem very well. However, I have no idea what happens to your seed. The roots look healthy, even the detached ones. The only cause for this I can think of it mechanical. Can you exclude that a pet, a bird or a child is attracted to the floating seed and manipulating it in some way?
Another thing springs to mind. You write that the seed is from Chile, so you have to consider a hemisphere swap. Did you sow/float all the seed? A spring sowing might work in the UK with a long spring and relatively cool summer but you might have better results with an autumn sowing as Rhodophiala is winter growing. The seed should maintain viability if stored in a fridge.
I also think that you can plant all those seeds which have a root. No need to wait for the first leaf. That may navigate round the dropping root problem. 
Hope that helps,

Hello Wun-Ho,

If it is Chlorophytum it will show typical growth if allowed to grow older and bigger, like plantlets forming on the inflorescences. If you want to wait before disturbing it this will not take long but you could also dig it up and the roots will help identification as well.
Chlorophytum is a fairly weedy plant in my Portuguese garden and I am weeding it in most places because it spreads into smaller plants and overwhelms them after a short period. It might still be something else than Chlorophytum but I would carefully watch it.

Current Photographs / Re: April photos
April 07, 2023, 01:35:40 AM
Very delicate color! I like the blue anthers. Is it a photographic effect or do the petals have a slight blue sheen?
Current Photographs / Re: April photos
April 06, 2023, 01:06:09 PM
Hello Arnold,

Are you sure about the name? To me it looks like Freesia laxa red form. 
General Discussion / Re: Escaping - Nothing new
April 04, 2023, 11:53:57 AM
Hello Peter,

Probably all of us do not want to introduce a new weed to our garden or the landscape. 

This can always happen as an accident but most of it can be avoided by careful observation of new plants and quick, consequent action in case of doubt. If lots of unwanted seedlings appear, they can still be removed before they flower or when they flower, before seeding themselves again. Careful disposal is important in that case. Or if a rhizomatous plant wants to turn up everywhere. This has happened to me with an unnamed Tradescantia and with Ruellia simplex or some varieties of mint.
I have a large Oxalis collection which contains some species with weedy potential. All Oxalis are pot grown and only released into the open garden after several years of observation. Especially those which produce hundreds of papery mini bulbils around the stem base are dangerous and I remove the entire stem before it is fully dormant and will be shedding the bulbili.
The tricky thing is that in one garden a plant may be difficult to grow and needs pampering and in another setting or climate the same plant may be a weed. 
The orange flower is Moraea ochroleuca which is well behaved and slow to increase indeed with me, see what I mean? 
The beautiful Corydalis nobilis was impossible to maintain in my former garden in Germany but is a dreaded weed in Sweden. I could not talk my Swedish friends into digging up some of their weed for my garden......
I would not let my pleasure spoil by worrying too much about weedy potential, it is unpredictable anyway but avoid the ones which are already known.

Mystery Bulbs / Re: Bulbs at UC Santa Cruz Arboretum
April 04, 2023, 11:17:31 AM
The purple flower is a Romulea but I would not be able to identify the species. If you look at the Wiki you will see how many Romulea there are and how difficult they are to distinguish.

The white flowers is a Freesia, same problem.... No idea which species this is 

Bye for now