Eucomis - Topic of the Week

Mary Sue Ittner
Mon, 11 Aug 2003 15:38:52 PDT
Dear All,

First of all I want to thank Dave for the splendid introduction. He 
deserves extra praise since this is an especially busy time of the year for 
him made even more busy by the extra time spent watering because of the 
weather. And I got the date mixed up he said he would do it and he still 
came through for us.

In addition he agreed that I could use his pictures on the wiki so we could 
have an Eucomis page which I have made. I only chose some of his pictures 
so if you want to see all of them it is still better to go to his web site. 
I added a picture of mine I took in August of 2001 when we saw Eucomis 
regia blooming in the rocks in Nieuwoudtville and Dave also sent me a 
picture of a common pollinator sniffing around one of his Eucomis.…
I think Shayne said he was growing Eucomis regia so he should give us a 
progress report. It isn't as showy as the others but we were very excited 
when we found it and perhaps some of us from Mediterranean climates would 
have more success with it.

Now for my questions and comments. I started some from seed a number of 
years ago of something called Eucomis sp. I got it to bloom and put one in 
the ground where it has done nothing at all although some years I see it. I 
kept one for a pot which has expanded greatly. It has bloomed again and an 
offset I gave to a friend who planted it out has bloomed as well. Mostly 
I'm not having much success. It could be that I am not watering enough or 
fertilizing enough or giving it a big enough pot or maybe it needs summer 
warmth? I have quite a few offsets in several pots and wonder about when 
and how to divide them as they seem all twined together. I'd be willing to 
give some to the BX this winter if I can figure it out. Last year the pot 
growing ones never looked completely dormant so I didn't try it then. When 
it bloomed I quite liked it so would like to figure out what it needs.

So for those of us who live in summer dry and summer not hot what should we 
do? Maybe growing in a pot is a problem, but I am not sure it would get 
enough water in the ground. Watering a lot in summer just means a more 
extensive system of redwood roots in my garden. How much fertilizer does it 
need to bloom well?

This Eucomis sp. when it blooms has a pink ovary and is very pretty. Does 
that automatically make it E. comosa or could it be something else? Also I 
bought something labeled Eucomis autumnalis pink from the Huntington at the 
IBS meeting last year. It is blooming now and very attractive and has pink 
ovaries too. So is that true ever for E. autumnalis or is this one 
something else? I have uploaded some pictures of it.……

How long does Eucomis seed last? I got some seed from Rhoda when we visited 
South Africa that year and she advised me since it was old seed to sow half 
of it immediately (fall) and the other half in spring. The ones I sowed in 
the fall germinated in the spring and the ones I sowed in spring did not so 
it was good advice. Some I've gotten from a seed exchange I planted in 
spring have not germinated.

Thanks for any help.

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

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