Getting through the first summer, an example

Mary Sue Ittner
Tue, 02 Mar 2004 08:00:54 PST
Dear Joe,

I keep hoping that people from areas with hot humid summers will respond to 
Joe's request for help. Perhaps Alberto has done that privately as I expect 
Argentina might qualify, but we also have people on this list from the 
south. But maybe they grow things from summer rainfall areas?

I'll take a stab here, but still hope others will come to your rescue. We 
had a discussion in June last year on Bulbs for Texas with a few people 
responding to what they had found they could grow successfully:…

I think it may depend on what winter growers you are growing. There are 
some South African Irids winter rainfall species that grow very slowly and 
that first corm is really tiny so they could be problematic. Others like 
some of the Sparaxis and some Ixias grow relatively fast and would form a 
corm that could be stored easily dry until the next season. I used to store 
bulbs in brown paper bags in drawers in my house in a hotter part of 
California quite easily. This is frowned on so I was surprised to hear in 
South Africa that a few others found this worked too. Others talk of 
turning pots on their sides so they won't be rained on or growing in 
mediums (like sand) that are less of a problem for rot. If you grew some of 
these in containers plunged in the ground in nesting containers you could 
dump them out after they died back and store them dry inside and put in 
some summer growing bulbs happy in Houston in that spot. I am sure that you 
could grow successfully some of the winter rainfall Irids if you treated 
them this way. Friends in Arizona have found some of the corms I sent them 
(Homeria type Moraeas, Freesia alba to name a few) have thrived. I wish I 
could remember what all they were. It isn't as humid there, but they do get 
summer rainfall and it is very hot.

I have found with some of the plants I've grown from seed in the 
Hyacinthaceae family  like Ornithogalum and Albuca that some of my 
seedlings did not go dormant the first year. I was uncertain what to do 
with them. People often grow Amaryllids the whole first year successfully 
so I tried keeping some of them going. This has been a mixed thing for me. 
One Ornithogalum I keep watering stays almost evergreen. I planted some of 
them out since they were multiplying rapidly and in my dry summers they go 
dormant in the ground. In fact I thought they had died until I saw a few 
growing and blooming last summer. Others I kept growing on that first year 
skipped the following year altogether almost like they wanted a dormancy. 
Recently an Ornithogalum that I had grown from seed and kept on growing had 
all the leaves die. I thought it was our "ark building" winter, but about a 
month later new leaves have come up so now I am wondering if it would have 
been better to force dormancy on some of these.

Anyone else have suggestions for Joe? Tom Glavich grows a lot of Albucas 
and Ornithogalums in Southern California. Maybe he will tell us what he 
does that first summer?

Mary Sue

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