Winter or Summer

J.E. Shields
Wed, 27 Nov 2002 13:20:43 PST
Hi Dell,

Now you have posed us a real challenge.  Let's see if I can meet it somewhat

Firstly, many of the South African seeds do not like to germinate under lights at relatively constant temperature -- I've wasted many a packet form Rachel Saunders trying to beat this one!  They mainly prefer Spring or Autumn, but resent being tricked into germinating in winter or summer.

Germinating a Winter-growing species in Spring will make its seedlings try to grow in summer.  Many of them will succumb to either the heat or the humidity or to both.  There is less problem with this when one germinates a Summer growing species in autumn as the seeds think they are getting an extra-long spring before the meet their first summer.

Second, grown in a greenhouse, most of the Winter growers eventually settled into growing in winter and resting in summer.  Under glass vs. under the sun are relatively major differences when it comes to the practical side of growing these things.  My greenhouse space is limited, but in summer I have loads of space outdoors under the sun.  I have to be much more careful about adding Winter growing bulbs than I do summer growing varieties.

Third, because they may eventually refuse to bloom or even die if forced to grow in the "wrong" season.  This is assuming they get natural light to the extent that they can recognize short days from long days.  Some may need this signal to go into dormancy or to come out of it.  Most seasonally growing plants require a dormant period to complete their normal annual growth cycles.

Finally, in some cases, you are absolutely right -- it doesn't make much difference with those that are actually "adventitious" growers, trying for a growing spell, however short, any time the conditions meet their critical needs.

Crinum variabile seems to be an adventitious grower, being the only Crinum species native to the winter rainfall area of South Africa.  It grows just fine here in summer, and has survived two winters outdoors here, in a protected spot near the greenhouse, in spite of the tendency of our winters here to be wet as well as cold.  Of course, I have yet to see any of this species bloom here.

Jim Shields
in central Indiana

Jim Shields             USDA Zone 5             Shields Gardens, Ltd.
P.O. Box 92              WWW    http//
Westfield, Indiana 46074, USA                   Tel. +1-317-896-3925

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