David Fenwick
Mon, 03 Mar 2003 09:27:08 PST
>>>>>So Alberto's comments about looking at the plants as the leaves
appear is an excellent point.

Hi Mary Sue,
It is a valid point but to this I would like to add that there are many
other pests and diseases that cause virus like symptoms, especially on
summer growing bulb species as they emerge in the spring. These symptoms may
be confused with virus like symptoms by novice gardeners, and may also fool
the best of us.

It must be noted that when bulbs start their seasonal growth, a lot of
preditors will already be there to take advantage of of this. At this early
stage of growth, virus like symptoms can also be caused by mites, thrips,
bugs (mealy), root aphid and nematodes, as well as in some instances
micro-nutrient deficiencies, pollutants (such as ground level ozone) or
indeed residual herbicides or pesticides.

Best Wishes,


David Fenwick
NCCPG National Collection of Crocosmia with Chasmanthe and Tulbaghia
The African Garden
96 Wasdale Gardens

----- Original Message -----
From: "Mary Sue Ittner" <>
To: "Pacific Bulb Society" <>
Sent: Monday, March 03, 2003 5:10 PM
Subject: Re: [pbs] Lachenalia and Virus

> Dear Jim,
> I grew Lachenalias in my raised bed for years here in Northern California.
> In 1990 (December) we had what we called "The Arctic Freeze". We were
> unusually dry for that time of the year and it hadn't been cold yet when a
> cold spell came in from the north. We got to 19 degrees (-7 C.). The
> froze and it remained cold for 3 days. It was a fantastic time for
> as most people did not have their water pipes well enough protected for
> such an event.
> Most of my South African bulbs in that bed turned to mush although there
> were a few that put up second leaves in a month or so. The Lachenalias did
> not, but some of them came back in later years. Lachenalia viridiflora
> bloomed the next year before it disappeared.
> Later I added new ones to that bed and found a number of them came back
> reliably and bloomed well: Lachenalia bulbifera, Lachenalia pustulata and
> Lachenalia aloides quadricolor were three with the latter being absolutely
> wonderful for a very long time in winter. I probably have pictures some
> where that I can add to the Wiki. In time L. bulbifera got a little out of
> hand and there were leaves everywhere, but not blooms. Last year the
> on those Lachenalias looked virused so I took everything out of that bed.
> I'm not sure the origin of my virus. I once bought some Ornithogalum
> thyrsoides and added it to that bed and it very quickly started looking
> worse each year. So it got removed. And someone gave me some Lachenalia
> bulbs that were probably virused and he didn't know and I put some of them
> in that bed without quarantining them first.
> I offer up these examples because I think they illustrate the virus
> problem. When I purchased those Ornithogalums I didn't know they were
> to virus and in the second year when the leaves looked a bit yellow I
> didn't know. When I asked my friend whether he worried his Lachenalias
> virused he said he thought that was the way those leaves were supposed to
> look.  When you live in a place where there is a lot of rain and winter
> hail, the leaves of bulbs in the ground do not continue to look pristine
> it is hard to know what is the result of the weather. So Alberto's
> about looking at the plants as the leaves appear is an excellent point.
> My Veltheimias sheltered from the heavy rain in containers look much
> than those in the ground at this point, but when the leaves of those in
> ground appeared they looked just fine.
> I have lots of Lachenalias now that look very healthy I grew from seed and
> I will be trying some of them in the ground again or in new beds I will
> create. I think I wrote recently that L. mutabilis is blooming again in
> ground (for the second year). But we haven't had a cold year. I am sure
> there are ones I could grow in raised beds. I'd need to look for species
> that could tolerate the wet as well as the cold however. And I might need
> to throw a blanket or frost cloth over them for a few days in a cold year.
> There used to be a number of them on African Hill at the UC garden in
> Berkeley. Maybe Liz can tell us if they are still there.
> Don Journet advised us that he could grow them in the ground where he
> in Australia if he positioned them to take advantage of protection from
> trees. I have the trees so can make some experiments.
> Mary Sue
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