Tigridia--Topic of the Week

Paul Tyerman ptyerman@ozemail.com.au
Mon, 22 Sep 2003 17:27:26 PDT
Howdy All,

I find that Tigridias grow here for me in Canberra, Australia brilliantly.
No problems, worries, fusses, care or problems <grin>  The hybrid "Jockey
Caps" with their floamboyent flowers stay permanently in the ground,
multiplying quite happily and on ocassions seedlings have popped up. I have
a pure white with no markings, white with red markings in the bowl, classic
orange with dark markings in the bowl and a red with dark markings in the
bowl.... all of which survive in the ground permanently without ANY care at
all.  I think I also have some theoretically yellow seedlings coming along
as well.  I ahve harvested seed from my white with red markings and they
germinated fine, I have a feeling I may have donated some to the BX but I
honestly can't remember for sure.  Maybe I just gave them away to friends

In the last couple of years I have also started with some of the species
and have found them VERY rewarding with their much more delicate flowers,
but in striking colour combinations as well.  I think I'd have to say that
Tigridia vanhouttei is my favourite of the species so far as it has 1 inch
more or less yellow flowers with strong purple veinings and markings.  T.
chiapensis is predominantly white, T. dugesii is a glorious golden yellow,
T. multiflora is an interesting almost brick-red colouration with smaller
flowers around 1.4cm wide or so, and T. durangense is a teeny tiny little
thing that is extremely easy to miss (or it was in my garden) as the plants
are only a couple of inches tall with mauve 1cm flowers that are strongly
reflexed.  I also have a couple of other species that have not yet flowered
for me.

The species I take a little more care of than I do the hybrids.  I grow all
of the species in approximately 7inch plastic pots in a mix that is half
sand, half potting mix.  This gives them excellent drainage which I have
been told they require and they've done well for me so far, increasing
quite well in some species.  I have had some of the bulbs out of pots dry
during late dormancy at times but generally I never remember to do it.  I
do make sure that in these pots I repot them every year though as I want to
make SURE that I preserve the drainage for these.  Having said that, a year
ago I had a large outbreak of a soil-borne fungus that obviously came fom a
bad batch of potting mix.  I was mortified at one point to find mushrooms
growing out of a number of my pots and one checking further I found that
the soil was now a completely solid mass of almost water repellent white
firbes.  Even though in growth I actually repotted a couple of the Tigridia
species but didn't completely remove all soil as I didn't want to shock
them too badly.  They did not seem to be at all bothered by the fungus as
it turned out, nor for that matter the repotting, and at this dormancy all
bulbs looked healthy when I repotted them.  I still felt better having at
least TRIED to deal with the fungus.  I have just made sure to keep up the
sand content since then and the fungus does not appear to have returned in
the new mix, even though there was definitely some of the fungus in the
soil around the roots when I repotted.  Maybe the sand content has helped
ward it off?

So basically I have found them all good and hardy, and absolutely no more
of a concern than any other bulb I have.  I have certainly not had to fuss
over them nearly as much as I expected to, and they have not been bothered
by year-around watering of their pots (we've been in drought a few years
now so pot watering is essential) and I have lost none of the species to
rot as yet.  I feed them with "Bulb Food" which I use for all my bulbs and
they seem to have thrived.  Despite the increased sand content I still use
"Saturaid" to help to keep water penetration of the soil at a maximum.
Nothing special really in comparison to any of my other bulbs.

So I am not sure whether anything I've said here is going to be of much use
to others as I haven't really found anything different about their culture.
 They tend to seed easily, and seed have germinated well for me (I have
seedlings now from vanhouttei and chiapensis that are doing fine with all
my other seedlings of jsut about every other genus in existence (OK, I'm
exaggerating a little <grin>).  So I suppose to me I find that these guys
are all-in-all a no fuss genus that rewards with flowers VERY well each
year.  The species are less flamboyent than the hybrids but are just as
showy in their own way.  Definitely all of the Tigridias are WELL worth the
effort to grow.

Hopefully Rob H can respond here as well.  Many of mine originated from him
and he likely grows a few more species than I do.  His conditions are also
quite different to mine climate-wise (particularly rainfall etc) so he may
have some experiences that may be more useful to you all?


Paul Tyerman
Canberra, Australia.  USDA equivalent - Zone 8/9

Growing.... Galanthus, Erythroniums, Fritillarias, Cyclamen, Crocus,
Cyrtanthus, Oxalis, Liliums, Hellebores, Aroids, Irises plus just about
anything else that doesn't move!!!!!

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