Muscari macrocarpum and Drimiopsis burkei

Jane McGary
Mon, 13 Sep 2004 06:58:39 PDT
Rogan in South Africa wrote,
Some years ago I imported two bulbs of M. macrocarpum, and five years
>later I still only have two bulbs of M. macrocarpum. If they don't set
>seed or divide vegetatively, how do I propagate them?

This species rarely sets seed in cultivation, in my experience, possibly 
because most people who grow it have only one clone, as I do. My bulbs are 
in the open garden (where they are not supposed to be hardy in this 
climate, but they're protected from morning sun in winter, which seems to 
be the key) and multiply slowly by offsets. I think they will multiply 
faster if crowded and given low fertility, since I got them from someone 
who had them in a big pot that had been neglected for several years, and it 
was simply stuffed with bulbs. This golden yellow Muscari has a wonderful 

Rogan added,
:-)  I guess we (Pietermaritzburg, KwaZulu-Natal) are just a little too
>warm for most temperate bulbs to flourish - even daffodils fail to
>thrive and soon disappear when planted in the garden. I would give a lot
>just to be able to grow Fritillaria - any Fritillaria!

The coastal North American Fritillaria species, such as F. liliacea, should 
flourish there. I recently donated plenty of seed of that species to the 
NARGS exchange, and it's also available through the AGS. I'd also try F. 
biflora and F. purdyi, and perhaps F. agrestis if you can stand a 
bad-smelling flower (if you grow Ferraria, it's not quite so bad as that!).

Jane McGary
Northwestern Oregon, USA

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