TOW - Ferraria and cold temperatures

John Bryan
Mon, 27 Dec 2004 09:47:10 PST
Dear Mary Sue:

It is an interesting point you mention regarding plants being dry or wet
to survive the colder temperatures. I am of the opinion that being dry
is better, the sap in the plants is then more concentrated, growth not
as lush and thus has in effect, more body and able to survive the colder
temperatures. This to me is logical and if I remember correctly, this
was what we were taught way back in the 40's and 50's when I was a
student, at the RBG Edinburgh and at the Somerset Agricultural College
as well as at Wisley. Perhaps opinions have changed, but the plants have
not. Cheers, John E. Bryan

Mary Sue Ittner wrote:
> Dear all,
> Thanks to all of you who posted on this topic during a time of year which
> can be very hectic. I am wondering if all the Ferrarias offset as much a F.
> crispa. I got one Ferraria ferrariola from the BX and Joyce. It has never
> bloomed and remains one corm. I started some more seed from Silverhill to
> keep it company and it germinated mostly the second year instead of the
> first after being left outside and dried off and in this third year none of
> them are up. They may still be there however as I did not repot them.
> There were corms of Ferraria divaricartia that I received from Jim Robinett
> when he asked me to rescue the bulbs he could no longer care for. There
> were 12 corms, first planted in 2000. I gave half to Mendocino Coast
> Botanical Gardens the next year after they had not bloomed (nor had they
> increased.) I don't know if they ever bloomed for them (Lily, Kristina are
> you reading this to say?), but they have not bloomed yet for me. They went
> from 7 to 10 the next year and to 14 since then. That is not a huge
> increase as corms grow. Following Lauw's advice I have watered them early
> and some of them come up in September each year. I've grown them in the
> structure that is outside, but covered on top so controlled the amount of
> rainfall they got to some degree. This year they went into one of my raised
> beds so I'll see if that works better.
> The question David raised intrigues me. One would expect in the greenhouse
> there would be some protection from the wind that would help that might not
> occur outside even if the temperatures were the same. We all experience
> parts of our garden where they is some protection from other shrubs that
> helps. Also in the greenhouse you'd expect there would be protection from
> the harsh early morning sun which is so damaging to plants that are icy.
> The winter of 1990 described and remembered as the Arctic Freeze in
> California when many of us lost a lot of tender plants had been unusually
> mild and dry prior to the cold. There were a lot of people writing about
> why it was so severe to give us tips to prevent this problem from happening
> again. One theory was that the switch from so warm to so cold all at once
> was part of the problem. Another strongly touted by the Santa Cruz
> Arboretum (they had African and Australian plants that were damaged and
> killed so were especially interested) was that the soil was dry and the
> plants were not hydrated. I had an offline discussion with someone about
> this (Mark McDonough possibly?) and he said that was absolutely not true.
> That it was the opposite. Dry plants would do better with cold
> temperatures. Now that David has said he only waters during mild
> temperatures and wonders if this is one reason for his plants tolerating
> colder temperatures than you'd expect perhaps we can discuss this.
> Mary Sue
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