Rainlily experiment

Jane McGary janemcgary@earthlink.net
Sat, 21 Sep 2002 08:20:29 PDT
Mary Sue asked,
>Perhaps Jane should tell us which ones she finds in Oregon do well for her. 
>I am sure that all species are not alike. 

I have Habranthus tubispathus, which seeds around into other pots and is
hardy in the bulb frame but not in the open; H. robustus, which did well in
the frost-free greenhouse but died in a patio planter over the winter (it
survived a warm winter in the open garden, but not a cold one);
Zephyranthes candida, frost-free; and a small light pink Zephyranthes that
I have not identified, frost-free. My mother's former garden in the Central
Valley of California, where winter lows regularly hit the low 20's F, was
overrun with H. robustus and Babianas. I could probably grow H. tubispathus
in the open garden were it not for the extremely wet winters here. It seems
to survive whatever water regime it gets in the pots it invades, just like
that other invasive seeder, Anomatheca (now Freesia?) laxa.

As for what triggers fall bloom, my intuitive thought from observing them
over the years is that Mediterranean bulbs respond to temperature changes
more than anything else, but that would probably not be true of subtropical
and tropical bulbs. With Colchicum, obviously, it is not moisture, since
they are all too ready to flower in bags! Crocuses will, too.

Anyway, my "rain lilies" are not getting hot nights, wherever they are
(either on my deck or in the bulb frame, in summer), because at this
elevation night temperatures almost always drop into the low 50s F., even
after daytimes in the 90s.

Jane McGary
NW Oregon, USA

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