[AB_images] Comparative plant emergence/Oxalis

Mary Sue Ittner msittner@mcn.org
Thu, 20 Mar 2003 07:28:15 PST
Dear All,

This is a response to a conversation of the AB images group, but I am cross 
posting it in case anyone else is interested.

Dear Paul and Mike,

We discussed Oxalis on the Pacific Bulb Society list in our Northern 
Hemisphere fall and also when to start watering in climates where there is 
summer drought. Quite a few people (but not all as there always seem to be 
exceptions) felt that you needed to start watering the South Africans in 
late summer to get them to bloom properly. Lauw de Jager felt this was 
crucial for many of the Oxalis or you wouldn't get them to bloom. They 
would come up, but not bloom.

I spoke with Michael Vassar at the IBS meeting in Pasadena about the number 
of Oxalis I couldn't get to bloom. I am grateful I had this opportunity 
since he is no longer alive. He suggested some of them needed hot summers 
which you can provide in Australia, but I can't and so I moved my dry pots 
into the greenhouse for the summer and it seemed to help a few of them. He 
also suggested a deeper pot for some of them. I had been growing them in 
shallow pots because I had read that the soil would heat up better in 
winter and that would help as they need warmth to bloom. That may be, but 
some of them need the room for roots more.

I have some evidence that all three of these are important. When I have 
been away and started my Oxalis late so that neighbors wouldn't have to 
water them or acquired them late, they have done less well. Some of the 
ones that spent the summer in the greenhouse did much better. And I finally 
(!!) got blooms on one pot of Oxalis flava that had more of a root run (and 
was started earlier). Still no luck with Ken Aslet however, but I'd grow it 
for the leaves. And it is notorious for not blooming so Lyn is to be 
congratulated in getting hers to bloom.

In spite of that I still have a number of Oxalis from trade or purchase 
that aren't doing well for me. And I have clones of the same species that 
are very happy. So I have concluded some just aren't happy in my climate 
and I'm giving up on them.

I spoke with Charles Hardman about a week ago and he said he has 
representatives from all of Michael Vassar's collection and some never 
increased or were vigorous (Diana Chapman has mentioned this before). It 
would be interesting to know if they were the same ones that are a problem 
for me or if in his drier southern California climate he does better with 
some and I do better with others.

Mary Sue

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

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