Littonia modesta

Brian Whyer
Sun, 10 Oct 2004 12:18:03 PDT
> I recently got some bulbs of Littonia modesta and cant find much
> to it on the 'net. Can anyone tell me how to look after the tubers and
> plants. Hardiness would be good too.
> Do you know anything about cultural needs of Bongardia chrysogonum?
> thanks
> Mark
> N Ireland

Hi Mark

I grow Littonia as a tender bulb, left just moist over winter in a frost
free greenhouse, and started into growth when it warms up in spring. I
move the pot into the warmest part of the garden after the last frosts,
and grow it inelegantly up a cane, or through a shrub. It has weak
tendril ends to the leaves which hook onto anything they can, but needs
tying to a cane. It flowers for me in the summer at about 5 feet high,
and then continues growing for maybe another 2 feet or so by this time
of year. The seed pods are just splitting now, revealing many bright
orange seeds.
I forgot to do anything with last years seed crop, so late spring I
stripped all the orange flesh off by soaking in water and rubbing it
off, and sowed then all, very thickly, into a 6" pot, and left it in the
greenhouse. Well it is supposed to be a bit difficult so I did not
expect them all to come up. You can see the result on the Littonia wiki
Too many to count but well over a hundred seedlings.
I have also loaded a photo of the tubers I have just lifted showing the
dominance of one leg you/I get when growing Littonia, and Sandersonia. I
read a website of one of the New Zealand commercial Sandersonia growers
last spring that suggested splitting the tuber into 2 by snapping across
the central disc, to avoid this, but got poorer growth this year after
doing it, and now have single leg tubers again. Maybe not enough
feeding, although I find Littonia less fussy than Sandersonia to grow.
It is more difficult to split the chubby Littonia tubers. Anyone tried
this method of increase?

Bongardia chrysogonum I grow in an almost frost free alpine house,
keeping it on the dry side most of the time. Just a bit damper when in
growth in the spring and early summer. Give it plenty of light when in
growth to stop it getting leggy.

Brian Whyer, zone 8'ish, Buckinghamshire, England

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