Lachenalia question

Mary Sue Ittner
Wed, 18 Sep 2002 13:06:25 PDT
Dear All,

As I am finishing my tapping out as Lauw calls it and repotting (much still to do) I have been looking at my Lachenalia bulbs. Some have become enormous (L. rubida is one), others have split into two or three, and still others have 10-20 bulbs of interesting shapes attached to the main bulb. At the get together at Cathy's house in May Charles Hardman arrived with a truck load of bulbs he was giving away. All right, maybe not a truck load, but there were a lot of them. Most were in 4 inch (10cm. pots) and had Lachenalia sp. on them, sometimes with a description and sometimes with a name of a species followed by a question mark. Is this what happens when you save all those spawn?

I was dumping out Lachenalia unicolor today (that wasn't what the seed was supposed to be, but I am reasonably sure I keyed it out correctly.) Some bulbs are intact, but others have split in huge numbers. I can see how this is a problem since the species is especially charming and you'd be tempted to keep them all. I'd send them to the BX, but a couple of my Lachenalias looked virused last year and had to be tossed. I think these are o.k., but don't want to take a chance of introducing virus to anyone. So I'll probably just throw out some of the small ones and pot up the big ones rather than end up like Charles. Is there a reason for the splitting or do some species just act that way?

And I am also curious about the size of the pot Charles was growing everything in. I find most of my things grow much better in deeper pots. Even in some of my deep pots I find roots clear to the bottom (and Brodiaeas and Dichelostemmas but that is another story.) Also last year my husband bought me a yellow Lachenalia at Trader Joes (probably an aloides hybrid) and it was potted in what looked like pure peat in a small pot too. And the bulbs when I dumped them out were quite large and healthy looking. I wouldn't think that was the way to grow them at all.

I have reviewed the notes from our very excellent introduction on Lachenalia for the IBS topic of the week by Don Journet. If anyone is growing Lachenalia and wants this information and doesn't have it, please write me privately. (Or if you want those bulbs that I don't think are virused that I am tossing and are willing to quarantine them to be sure). I don't think there was anything in the introduction about the size of pot and which species split.

My other question has to do with Lachenalia campanulata. I got seed of this one from Rhoda and Cameron in South Africa. It is still growing from my fall sowing last year and so I have kept watering it. I think I remember Rhoda saying to give it year round water. Anyone grow this one and have any advice?

Thanks for any help on this. I know a few of you grow Lachenalias and Don has a collection in Australia.

Mary Sue  

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