Jim McKenney
Fri, 30 Jan 2004 12:55:28 PST
Dear Mary Sue and others,

Well, when you ask "I am curious how you are growing it in Maryland " all I
can say is "I'm not sure". I really don't have any advice to give anyone on
this topic, but I'll be glad to tell what I have so far done. 

Plants of both Scoliopus bigelowii and S. hallii were acquired in December,
2002, much too late to risk putting them outside immediately (or so I
thought). So they went into the refrigerator, the spare refrigerator (aka
the beer refrigerator) in the basement. The plants of S. bigelowii were
big, robust affairs with lots of thick ropey roots and multiple crowns. The
plants of S. hallii were so much smaller that my notes from that time
describe them as "seedlings?". 

Scoliopus bigelowii was not set back a bit by the refrigerator: the plants
grew and  began to bloom in late January still in the plastic bag in the
dark in the refrigerator. I  then potted them up and grew them under lights
inside. The potting mixture was a combination of fine pine bark (what is
known as Virginia fines locally) and peat. They were checked in late March
when they went outside to a cold frame. The root system looked fine at that
point. At about this time the foliage died down. They were checked again in
late August, and the root system still looked good, although at the time I
was not sure I was looking at rhizomes or roots - and I didn't want to
disturb the plants unnecessarily to find out.  

S. hallii on the other hand made no attempt to grow while in the
refrigerator. They were so small that on more than one occasion when I
checked them during the winter I wondered if they would ever amount to
anything. Sometime in early-mid March they were potted up using the mixture
described above. In late March they began to bloom. I don't remember when
the foliage died down. Here again, the root system looked fine in late

Both remain in the cold frame which today is buried in snow. This cold
frame gets no sunlight, is on the north side of a building, and the
Scoliopus bigelowii pot spent the summer more or less under the propped-up
cold frame light. It probably got little if any rain, but last year was the
wettest year in a long time locally, well over sixty inches of rain.
Baltimore broke its record and we came close. The pot of S. hallii was
exposed to rain.  

I expect S. hallii to be winter hardy here (summer is another matter - but
so far so good). Of S. bigelowii I'm not so sure. It may well belong to
that big group of plants made up of plants which don't like our summers or
our winters. We'll see. 

Although these plants are formally aligned with Trillium, to my
non-botanist's eyes they look like acaulescent Tricyrtis. And when S.
hallii bloomed, I made a note in my journals that it looked like a tiny
Ferraria at first. 

I'll post again on this topic when I can get into the coldframes and see
what is happening.

Meanwhile, someone out there tell me what I should be doing with these.

Jim McKenney
Montgomery County, Maryland zone 7 where I hope everyone realizes that I
have not spoken with an adder's tongue - slinky, fetid or otherwise

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