Alstroemeria query

Rodger Whitlock
Sat, 06 Aug 2005 10:15:03 PDT
On  3 Aug 05 at 10:12, S. R. Gilbert wrote:

> I am a novice Alstroemeria grower. Having successfully
> germinated several dozen Ligtu hybrids from seed some
> months ago, I am now witnessing a withering and dying
> back of all of my seedlings. A couple of inches of
> height, with a remarkably large root, they are now, I
> reckon, following the seasonal decline that my fully
> mature Alstroemerias (bought in pots) are going
> through.
> The young plants are mostly in three-inch pots. How
> should I handle the next phase of their existence?
> Pull up roots? Transplant now into my San Francisco
> foggy garden? Leave pots alone?

I would plant them out now. If, that is, you have sufficient
space for them in your garden, remembering that each seedling
will spread a ways in every direction if happy. 

If you want to vet them for color before planting out, so you
can rogue out the dull, the uninteresting, the boring, and the
so-so ones, then repot the seedlings into quite large pots: 8"
wide x deep at a minimum, if possible even bigger. Deep is more
important that wide for a deeply burrowing Alstroemeria. Make
sure the pots don't offer an escape route via the drainholes
into the soil they sit on -- alstroemeria loves to get its 
tubers into good deep soil.

Also, if possible, shade the pots to prevent the sun shining 
on their sides and overheating the soil.

I can't quote specific research, but my impression is that 
bulbs adjust their depth in the soil according to temperature. 
Overheated soil in a pot will cause them to burrow more deeply 
in pursuit of a cooler temperature. Naturally, when entrapped 
in a pot were *all* the soil is overly warm, the bulb will bump 
the bottom and suffer frustration and possible mental problems 
in later life, not a Good Thing. (As usual, I jest -- but just 
a little.)

In the Ligtu hybrids, you have an excellent cutflower, btw. 
They last for weeks in water. If you have the space, grow them 
all: not one will be ugly. Your neighbors, and even some local 
florists, may be thrilled to see you turn up with masses of 

Rodger Whitlock
Victoria, British Columbia, Canada
Maritime Zone 8, a cool Mediterranean climate

on beautiful Vancouver Island

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