Romuleas in bloom

Mary Sue Ittner
Thu, 27 Feb 2003 08:31:54 PST
Dear All,

Jim Shield's comments about his Romuleas reminded me that you just have to 
try something to find out what works for you. I had avoided some of those 
large beautiful Romuleas because I read they were difficult to sustain in 
cultivation. Then Bill Dijk donated seed of Romulea sabulosa and a number 
of us tried it including Jim and me. The same seed germinated at different 
times for different people. Mine didn't come up until a year later but that 
I have found is not unusual for Romulea.

The picture I posted of my Romulea sabulosa was blooming this February in a 
pot and it is clearly thriving. So to say that it has trouble surviving in 
a pot hasn't been true for me.…

His other comment about needing bright light to open is true for a lot of 
South African irids and Oxalis too. Warmth is clearly needed as well for 
some of them. Since my garden has developed a lot of shade I find myself 
moving my blooming pots to the sunniest spots and just hoping we will have 
sunny days when they are in bloom. So the ones that bloom for more than a 
day or two are clearly preferable. Romulea tetragona has a lovely flower 
but the two years it has flowered for me it has been so brief that you had 
to be lucky to see it. Romulea sabulosa blooms for me for several weeks so 
I have a lot better chance that during that time we will have some sunny 
days. I find the backs of some of those Romuleas quite delightful however 
even when they don't open.

So perhaps those in colder climates do need to think of the late blooming 
ones like Romulea tabularis which although smaller is I agree quite nice. 
Unfortunately if you look at The Color Encyclopedia of Cape Bulbs you will 
often see blooming times from July to September which doesn't help very 
much. We saw Romulea rosea blooming in August when we were there and 
September and the book says to October so that one is various sizes and 
times in the wild. The misnamed one I thought might be Romulea rosea I have 
is a very tiny flower that I suspect won't make a very long show and for 
that reason alone I am not going to keep it since I have a space problem as 
it is. Because it can be quite weedy (if this is it and I didn't key it 
out), that is another reason to be cautious.

If you grow seed from wild collected populations there are wonderful 
surprises. You never know what might turn out to be one of your favorite 
plants. Maybe this is just an excuse for someone who is hooked on growing 
from seed.

Mary Sue

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