Pot size

J.E. Shields jshields@indy.net
Thu, 28 Jul 2005 08:20:18 PDT
Hi all,

My experience with South African bulbs is that  many will not bloom in 
small pots.  Now my interests in alpines are limited; other than Cyclamen, 
I just stick them in the ground in my one rock garden.  If they grow, good; 
if they don't, then they don't.

I take a different attitude towards my bulbs!

Conditions here are central Indiana, USDA cold zone 5:  40° N latitude, 86° 
W longitude, elev. 700 ft (200 m.) above sea level.  Greenhouse in winter, 
outdoors in summer.  We definitely do NOT repot every year; we have too 
many pots to make that feasible.

Scadoxus multiflorus katherinae will live for many years in a 5-in pot; but 
it will not bloom in so small a pot.  Scadoxus puniceus will just barely 
bloom in a 1-gal. container (ca. 6 in X 6 in.) and even then they don't 
look "right."

Gladiolus don't bloom in small pots (6 inches or less); they don't bloom 
well in 7-inch pots.  They seem to need at least a 2-gal. (ca. 7 L.) 
container (ca. 8 inches X 8 inches) or larger.

An exception is Haemanthus albiflos, which does well in 5-in to 6-in 

Many large Crinum do not develop normally unless in at least a 5-gal. (19 
L.) container; most eventually look a lot better in even larger 
containers.  I use up to 7-gal containers.  Dave Lehmiller, a leading 
student of Crinum in the USA, recommends using 24-inch pots for crinums.

We pot Clivia seedlings up to the next size pot annually, up to 5 gal size; 
then we divide, because by then they have produced several offsets.

Small bulbs like Freesia laxa and Albuca sp. seem to do as well in small 
pots as in large ones.  Some Ornithogalum seem to do OK in small pots, 
including the large O. saundersii.

I'm of several minds regarding the winter-growing Haemanthus.  Most do not 
seem to bloom here at all, none bloom reliably except for H. barkerae.  I 
can't sort out effects of pot size, weak winter sunshine, and other growing 
condition variables.

Jim Shields

Jim Shields             USDA Zone 5             Shields Gardens, Ltd.
P.O. Box 92              WWW:    http://www.shieldsgardens.com/
Westfield, Indiana 46074, USA
Tel. ++1-317-867-3344     or      toll-free 1-866-449-3344 in USA

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