Starting winter growing seed-Tecophilaea cyanocrocus

Lee Poulsen
Wed, 11 Feb 2004 22:50:45 PST
On Feb 11, 2004, at 9:19 PM, Mary Sue Ittner wrote:
> One thing really interests me. Lee Poulsen says that his plants always 
> make a lot of offsets. Do they have to be a certain size to do this? 
> Or do some do this and not others. The ones I have been (slowly) 
> growing from seed have never made offsets. I've lost maybe one or two 
> of the three varieties from my initial sowing, but mostly the number 
> of corms has remained stable after the second year. As I said before 
> in my experience some seeds come up the first year and some the second 
> year even after spending a dry summer.

I think "a lot" is kind of relative. They don't increase anywhere as 
rapidly as Ipheion uniflorum does. What happens as far as I can see 
with my plants is that each bulb that is of flowering size, shortly 
after sending up a flower scape, starts growing small offset leaves 
right next to the main plant. It is usually two in number on opposite 
sides, sometimes three. If the plants grow well during the growing 
season, these offsets are often just big enough to be of flowering size 
the following season, and they do the same thing. So the bulbs increase 
in number roughly as a power of three. So at first there's not a lot of 
increase, but it starts to add up after just a few years. At the end of 
the first season, from one bulb to start with, there are three, at the 
end of the 2nd season there are 9 bulbs, at the end of the 3rd growing 
season there are 27 bulbs (roughly). So an initial investment of 
US$15-20 for one small bulb can result in a net worth of more than 
US$500 by the end of the third year (if you choose to think of it in 
those terms).

BTW, my leitchlinii Tecophilaeas are all bursting into bloom this very 
week and are looking nice, esp. since we haven't been having much rain 
down here. The violaceas and the pure blue species pots always bloom a 
little later. I also managed to get one bulb of a new cultivar that is 
supposed to be a lavender version of the leitchlinii appearance. What 
I'd really like to get some day is one of those pure white forms that 
were observed in a field of wild growing blue ones that were just 
(re-)discovered recently. (Meaning they're not completely extinct in 
the wild.) I wonder how long it will take to get that form into 

--Lee Poulsen
Pasadena area, California, USDA Zone 9-10

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