Pelargonium incrassatum

Fri, 11 Apr 2003 15:37:02 PDT
Dear Mary Sue,

Your enthusiastic message about the pleasures of growing the tuberous
pelargoniums forces me to applaud. I too have been enjoying these beauties
for a number of years and encouraging others to do the same. Their elegance
marks them out.

P. incrassatum is unfortunately done for the year here but P. punctatum, P.
barklyi, P. oblongatum and P. appendiculatum are still showing bloom. Others
are yet to come.  The season for these Hoareas is long. Some start in early
January or maybe earlier if I started watering them more generously and
earlier. Others such as P. lobatum will be showing until next month. 

Like yourself, I've raised a number of them from seed. As you know, it takes
patience and some care but is not particularly difficult. For instance,
germination is usually excellent. Extracting a nicking the seed takes the
care and patience! 

P. incrassatum often grows in red claylike soil and does get some rain as it
is frequently found on mountaintops. Both it and P. lobatum should be the
easier ones to grow in wetter climates like yours. But there may be others
that do just as well. I have not found any yet that I could not grow here.
But I am looking out for the rare ones like P. caroli-henrici!

San Diego


-----Original Message-----
From: Mary Sue Ittner [] 
Sent: Thursday, April 10, 2003 10:40 PM
To: Pacific Bulb Society; Australian Bulbs
Cc: Dr. Andrew Wilson
Subject: Pelargonium incrassatum

Dear All,

I really enjoyed two talks of Michael Vassar's that included discussion of 
Pelargonium and Oxalis. When he led a topic of the week discussion on 
Pelargonium a number of years ago I concluded that I should probably give 
this one a miss since most of them occur in areas with very low rainfall 
and he seemed dubious about whether I could succeed.

But then when Dirk Wallace and I were swapping seeds he threw in seeds of 
Pelargonium incrassatum and suggested I should try it as it was especially 
beautiful. So of course I had to. I got very good germination, but lost a 
lot of the seedlings in the first dormancy. I gave some others away and 
they too may have succumbed. I was left with two. I have had a hard time 
keeping them healthy in my climate. The leaves get diseased. Last year 
however it sent up a couple of spikes and I got to get a sense of what it 
might be as the blooms shriveled. In the new Pelargonium book it suggested 
starting this one later so it would be likely to bloom later which in my 
climate would probably make sense.

This year I potted the two I had left in a much deeper pot and put the pot 
in the center of my covered structure (open air benches with a roof that 
reduces the rainfall except when it rains sideways which Diana Chapman will 
confirm happens in our climates) thinking it would be more protected in the 
middle. And I watched it closely removing any leaves that look diseased 
immediately before the disease spread. Both plants have been blooming for 
some time now and they are gorgeous. I have had many flowering stalks. The 
stalks are too long, probably seeking more light, and Bob captured the 
picture of one of them that had made its way to hang out with a Lachenalia 
contaminata now in bloom. With this success I have gotten bolder and now I 
have two pots of seedlings from Silverhill Seeds of two more geophytic 
Pelargoniums I admired when we were in South Africa.

I have started a wiki page and when I have time may scan in a couple of 
slides of ones we saw in the wild. I found it very challenging to get both 
leaves and flowers both in focus when I was taking pictures then and the 
flowers are these plants are a long way away from the leaves so only the 
flowers are pictured.…

Thank you, thank you Dirk.

Mary Sue
Mary Sue Ittner
California's North Coast
Wet mild winters with occasional frost
Dry mild summers

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