Some comments on Rhodophiala

Matthew Gale
Tue, 25 Mar 2003 05:06:46 PST
Many thanks to Alberto for his posting on Rhodophiala! I know quite a few
people (myself included) who have been confused about culturing their
Rhodophiala. In most cases, it's been a question of when to grow different
species since many seem willing to grow at the 'wrong' time of year,
surviving, but not thriving or flowering. I've been growing my R. advena as
a summer-grower - maybe forcing it to aestivate later in the year would be a
good idea?

I have certainly seen evidence that some species seek deep planting very
actively . My seedlings of bifida, chilensis and granatiflora seem desperate
to do this, producing very elongated bulbs that, once they hit the bottom of
the pot, distort themselves in their efforts to go deeper! Since I've had
some difficulty finding really deep pots, I've been having to improvise and
some species have had to make-do with small pots. Whilst most Rhodophiala
are found buried deep in the wild, I wonder whether some species are less
particular in culture? I've noticed that seedlings of some species that
belong to Group B in Alberto's previous email (spring/summer growers from
the Andes) don't migrate downward with the same determination as the
winter-growers. My mature R. andicola seems quite happy in a tiny pot;
although I plan to experiment with the seedlings it has produced in deeper
pots for comparison.

The biggest problem I've had with my Chilean species was that most compost
mixes are just too moist for them and their roots rot. At Alberto's
suggestion, I've been using a primarily mineral-based mix which has already
had great results!

By the way, the old Texan form of R. bifida has travelled far - it looks
like the first Rhodophiala I ever bought (here in the UK) is this plant.
It's produced loads of offsets, but never seed.

Matthew Gale
Birmingham, UK

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