Dear All, Cyrtanthus (sometimes called Fire Lily) is an large, entirely African genus of approximately fifty species belonging to the Amaryllidaceae, and its distribution is concentrated mainly in South Africa. A number of species are easily cultivated and free flowering, and the more "difficult" species represent a challenge to the most experienced horticulturist, because under natural conditions flowering depends on firing or burning of the vegetation cover. They grow in wide range of habitats including damp bushy stream-edges, as epiphytes on other plants, and in near desert conditions. While a number of species are quite widespread in nature, many have extremely restricted distribution ranges, another reason for encouraging their cultivation. Unfortunately they are rarely seen in cultivation, and are perhaps not sufficiently known, ever to become popular. However, recent appearances of collections in various countries, (including New Zealand of course) a lot of information has come to light. A few species adapt well to general cultivation, but for others they require a rather different treatment as to resting periods and watering depending on their areas of origin. Their requirements are sometimes so exact, that they will only ever be grown by collectors and specialist growers, they will inevitably remain the subject for the dedicated, testing their skills and patience to the limit. Wherever possible, the natural habitat of the species should be considered, and if possible, recreated. The requirements of the more difficult species will have to be understood to be successful. That's why I always grow them in (generous) containers (various sizes according to species), not only for convenience, but mainly to control conditions required at the different times of the season, which often means shifting the containers, when necessary inside, or to other parts of the nursery, when weather conditions require, like frost or to much rain. In general the genus prefer a very lightly shaded position, or one which receives sun for only half the day, preferably in the morning. There are, however a few species for instance, which actually prefer a full sun position like C.brachyscyphus and C.obliquus, while others such as C eucallus and C.labiatus flourish in medium shade. With the potting medium, the main requirements should be good drainage at all times. Our mix consist of half composted bark, a quarter pumice and a quarter sand, sometimes more sand and pumice for the difficult species) to which I add bonemeal or any well rotted manure or compost, plus a measure of slow release (9-12 months) , well balanced NPK ( + trace elements), low in nitrogen and high in potash fertiliser. An application of dilute feeding during the growing will be beneficial and recommended as well. Don't think with this (ours) medium the results will be magically solved. I think the climate, the method of cultivation, potting mix, feeding, and the know-how, all together will ultimately determine success. It's best to treat each species separate according to their requirements.. When it comes to watering, when and how much is critical to the successful cultivation of this species. I usually water freely when in active growth and flowering. Knowledge of whether a particular species is evergreen or deciduous will determine watering procedure; most deciduous species are dormant in winter, during which time they should be kept as dry as possible. Those species recommended for garden culture are usually tough enough to withstand moisture during their dormant period. However, the roots of the majority of species tend to rot very quickly if they are overwatered, or if they receive moisture during dormancy. It is important to allow the growing medium to dry out almost completely in between watering during the summer, which is the main growing periods for most species. BTW: It is a well known fact that many Cyrtanthus are lost due to overwatering, (fungal rotting of the bulbs) especially when dormant , when they should be dryish. Pests and Diseases: the dreaded mealybug and red spider; (2 of the main problems), which can create havoc and devastation very quickly. All Cyrtanthus species are susceptible to this pest which infests the bulbs and leaves in no time and should be sprayed and drenched ( I use chloropyrifos based) with the appropriate insecticide where required.. Fungal rotting of the bulbs, often the cause of overwatering can also be very destructive if not carefully managed. My personal opinion is that Cyrtanthus like a steady, long, moderate to warmish growing season, without sudden shocks of very cold frosty periods, or heavy rain during dormancy, which could also spell disaster, and should be avoided at all cost.. Growing Cyrtanthus species was never meant to be easy, (apart from the C. elatus and other hybrids) but if successful, will be fascinating, rewarding and very enjoyable. Does any PBS member on this forum grow Cyrtanthus? We would love to hear from you and tell us your experiences with this versatile but sometimes temperamental and fastidious species, and how you tackled some of the little problems associated with this beautiful genus. I believe Jim Shields has been successful with C.elatus X C.montanus and was very impressed with its performance. Mary Sue managed to get it to flower and was delighted and proud with her achievement. Looking forward to hearing from you all, including the Aussies and friends from Europe, where the growing conditions may be different and more challenging. To be continued with descriptions of particular species and their requirements. Best wishes, Bill Dijk Tauranga, New Zealand :annual rainfall :1250 mm. Sunshine hours, mean annual : 2350 hours. Temp.mean max.Summer : 25°C. winter:///15°C/. Temp.mean min. Summer :14.5°C. Winter: 5°C. Wet mild Winters with occasional light frost.