Leo A. Martin
Sat, 11 Jun 2005 09:56:27 PDT
Hans wrote

 > Today I have received from a plantfriend some bulbs of
 > Moraea - can anybody help me and give some intractions
 > for treatment ( culture ) .
 > What kind of soil ,feeding , summer - or wintergrowing,
 > watering..... The Moraeas are following :
 > alticola, villosa , vegata , tricospidata , saxicola ,
 > cilliata , setacea , atropunctata , gawlerii;


ciliata with one L
gawleri with one I

I have read M. alticola is a summer-grower from high altitude and it 
grows in very wet or swamp conditions. It is supposed to tolerate USDA 
zone 6.

The rest are winter growers.

I have never been to Africa but my friends who have been there in the 
winter say they always saw bulbs growing in the wet ditches by the roadside.

I am growing a lot of Moraea species from seed but none have bloomed 
yet. I read they do well in sandy soil, maybe half or more sand, and 
very deep pots. My seedlings are in pots about 150 mm deep. When they 
are mature I will use deeper pots still.

They like water during the growing season. Don't let them dry out when 
growing. They should remain completely dry when dormant. I find most 
winter-growing bulbs bloom and grow better if they are stored dormant in 
a very warm place.

I have read many things about fertilizing and I don't know what is true. 
I used ammonium sulfate, about 5 grams per liter, once a week for my 

The winter growers don't mind a little frost at night. They were fine 
here at my house with night temperatures down to -5C for short periods 
of time.

Mature plants should like a lot of winter sun, especially in Germany. 
Maybe also M. alticola likes a lot of sun in the summer there.

For now, you might plant the species in separate pots that are very 
deep. Water them all once lightly. Put the winter-growers into a warm 
spot to dry out and store them in a very warm spot.

I would put the M. alticola in a sunny spot and water it a lot, even 
before it grows. In the fall when the leaves start to turn yellow stop 
watering and let it dry for the winter.

In the fall put the winter-growers into a sunny spot and begin to water 
them heavily. They should sprout and start growing. I have found here 
that most of the winter bulbs need a lot of water in the fall to wake up 
and grow.

A great book is

The Moraeas of South Africa
Peter Goldblatt (text)
Fay Anderson (watercolors)
Annals of Kirstenbosch Botanic Gardens 14
ISBN 0 620 09974 7

I found mine at Rainbow Gardens Bookshop in the US for 40 dollars but 
that was some years ago. Today I see it there for 50 dollars. I think 
you can find it in the EU.

If you really like bulbs you should also get
The Color Encyclopedia of Cape Bulbs
J.Manning P.Goldblatt D.Snijman
Timber Press
0 88192 547 0

This one is still only 55 dollars, which is very cheap for such a 
wonderful book. It covers the winter-rainfall portion of the Cape.

Leo A. Martin
Phoenix, Arizona, USA

Continue, because you must.

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