Rainlily experiment

Mary Sue Ittner msittner@mcn.org
Fri, 20 Sep 2002 17:27:12 PDT
Dear All,

I kept my rain lilies in the greenhouse for a few months to be warm and dry 
and then saturated them. Immediately Habranthus robustus bloomed. That was 
the second time this summer. The other time was when I placed the pots 
where they got watered by the sprinkler when I was giving a section of my 
garden its monthly deep watering. None of the others bloomed. So I am with 
Diane. They are not going to be part of my collection. I'll keep 
Zephyranthes atamasca which bloomed last spring and had striking large 
flowers in bloom for days. Since it is a woodland plant it appears to be 
more easy to adapt to my conditions. Have you tried that one Diane?

While we were gone in August our Meyer lemon tree didn't get quite enough 
water and has lost most of its leaves. That Mexican Erigeron had seeded 
itself in the container in large amounts and as I was pulling them all out 
and trying to decide what to do about the lemon, I spied flowering stalks 
on Zephyranthes candida growing in the container. There were four which is 
a large number for me. I occasionally see one in my garden in bloom, but 
that is usually all. They weren't as dramatic as Lauw's I saw in France 
years ago, but now that I have removed the competition they are very 
pretty. Could drying out the soil followed by our attempts to water the 
lemon a lot when we got back in our attempt to rescue it have made the 
difference? This is the time of the year it blooms, if it is going to bloom 
so I can't be sure.

So of the eight species I have left three have bloomed this year. Oh and 
that other one that probably is not what it is named. Only a few of the 
bulbs of the species that bloomed have bloom and they have been in flower 
for only two days (except for Z. atamasca which lasted much longer). 
Another two species I already sent to a friend in Texas. She e-mailed me 
yesterday that it had been very hot where she lives, but they had rain and 
the next morning there were spikes. Obviously they are happier in their new 
home. Since I saturated all of them they are growing well. We have had some 
of our fall hot weather so maybe I'll dunk them one more time for good measure.

Mary Sue 

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