Tecophilea seed

Mary Sue Ittner msittner@mcn.org
Tue, 10 Feb 2004 17:19:04 PST
Dear Hamish,

I'm very impressed with your seed successes especially after my failures 
last year with Veltheimia.

Bill Dijk was selling seed of Tecophilaea when he was in Pasadena at the 
IBS Symposium in May 2002. Even though I had yet to get any of the seeds I 
had germinated from him before to bloom I wanted to try more so bought some 
of all three he was selling. I planted them in October 2002 and they 
germinated in great numbers in late December and January about the time 
plants show up every year naturally where I live. They have come back 
strongly and maybe a few more have germinated this year as well. This is 
the second year I have had a Tecophilaea bloom from my original sowing. My 
first seeds were sown in December 1999, again from Bill. They didn't 
germinate until late March and more germinated the following January. 
Perhaps it just takes awhile from when you start them before they come up, 
but starting early as Lee suggested means they come up when their normal 
cycle should be.

The one that has bloomed for me is Tecophilaea cyanocrocus var. 
leichtlinii. It's the one with the gorgeous blue color on the outside with 
a white center. Last year in its first year of bloom it didn't seem to last 
very long, but this year it has sent up more than one flower and each 
flower has lasted a week or so. There is a bud on one of the corms of T. 
cyanocrocus that I bought from Bill at the Symposium in May 2002. They 
didn't bloom for me that first year growing at the wrong time but now seem 
to be on track.

Lee has really good luck with this genus. I need to improve my technique. 
Thinking that he gets less rain I have tried sheltering them from my rain 
this year. In the past I've just let them be rained on. And I'm making sure 
the seedlings get fertilized more when they are young. I'm wondering if 
they need a warmer summer too. I never could get my Leucocorynes (one of my 
favorite genera) to bloom until they started spending their summers in my 
greenhouse. So maybe that's the next experiment to try.

Mary Sue

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

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