Scilla natalensis

Lee Poulsen
Thu, 27 Mar 2003 22:50:55 PST
Let me add my input. I have 6 or 7 of them in 1-gal pots grown from 
those seeds that came from New Zealand. One of them sent up a scape a 
week or so ago and has started to bloom. It is the first one to bloom 
for me. I leave them outside all year round, but this year I kept 
them under a covered patio. Each year they have gone dormant all by 
themselves in late fall, usually soon after we get a few nights where 
the temperature falls into the 30s F. for the first time. The leaves 
just yellow and then die away on all of them. This year they started 
leafing out again in January even though they weren't receiving any 
water. I think it's because we had such a warm January with a few 
days where the temperature got up to the low 90s. Mary Sue, if you 
want some of mine I could send a few up to you. Somehow I have 
another pot of younger seedlings coming along. I'm not sure why I 
planted more of them. I guess I wasn't paying attention...

I think we need to differentiate between west coast (of continents) 
Zone 10 and east coast (of continents) Zone 10. The west coast 
version tend to be mediterranean or similar with a cold ocean current 
flowing offshore and thus, even if it doesn't freeze, it nevertheless 
gets quite cool every night especially compared to east coast Zone 10 
areas. Zone 12 areas are very nearly tropical and so they almost 
never get the cool winter nights. Every place in southern Calif. 
drops down into at least the 40s F. at night during the coldest part 
of the year, including the frost-free Zone 11 locations. The 
frost-free Zone 11 Florida locations are lucky to get a few nights a 
year where it drops down into the 50s F. I imagine it is similar for 
west and east coast Zone 10 areas in Eurasia, Africa, Australia, and 
South America as well.

--Lee Poulsen
Pacific Bulb Society - Secretary
Pasadena area, California, USDA Zone 9-10

>Dear All,
>I find this subject absolutely fascinating.
>Now we have learned that Scilla natalensis blooms in late winter for 
>Doug in Southern California, early spring for Jana in Northern 
>California and in the wild in Natal, summer in British Columbia, 
>Canada, and New Zealand, fall in Switzerland and I don't think Paul 
>said when in Australia.
>They need to be grown frost free except obviously not since they 
>survive in Zone 7 outside.  Rob once wrote that he lost most or all 
>of his Cyclamen in a really cold year so these are obviously 
>hardier. They need to be planted with 2/3 exposed except that they 
>are fine with not being exposed at all in Australia. And Greg tells 
>us they have to have some cold to bloom, but Doug is Zone 10 or not 
>less than Zone 9 at least so not a lot of cold.
>They need a dry winter or they will rot, but are fine where they get 
>year round water in British Columbia, Berkeley, and New Zealand even 
>though in some of those places there is more rainfall in winter. In 
>British Columbia they don't even lose their leaves until March 
>whereas in their natural habitat they lose their leaves when the 
>rain stops and the weather gets cold. They need to be well watered 
>when in growth in summer but Paul says they get a dry baking in 
>Australia and still bloom every year for his friend.
>So what is the problem with Lauw's bulbs? You'd think they would 
>have gotten used to a different hemisphere by now. Could they just 
>not be big enough?
>I saw them in bloom in Berkeley too a number of years ago, but 
>Berkeley gets half the rainfall I do in winter and Rob in British 
>Columbia is much lower too. So if I'm going to do a sacrifice for 
>science I'd rather sacrifice John's small bulbs than mine I have 
>patiently grown from Bill's seed.  So send on a few for me to try. 
>And John yours aren't going to grow very big very fast in 2 inch 
>pots. Bill told us in December that Jim Forrest's bulbs got moved 
>because they needed more space and they were the size of big crinum 
>bulbs and with a very extensive root system.
>Thanks all for all the great responses. Hopefully Paul, Ken, Lauw, 
>and I will all one day have blooming plants regardless of what we do.
>Mary Sue
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