Scadoxus multiflorus culture

Jim McKenney
Tue, 22 Nov 2005 08:25:01 PST
Thanks for pointing that out, Ron.

Not only did you answer a question I've long pondered, but you brought back
some memories. 

Decades ago the John Scheepers company used to send out a brochure listing
bulbous conservatory plants. As I recall, Clivia and what was then known as
Haemanthus katherinae were typically listed. This was my introduction to the
plant we now know as Scadoxus multiflorus. That's the memory you rekindled.

And the answer you provided concerns the difference between Scadoxus m.
multiflorus and S. m. katherinae. In a photo they look alike to me, and I
long doubted that they were different. But you have pointed out that they
are indeed different from a cultural point of view. 

After writing that, I realize that in a photo, if you know what to look for,
they do not look alike. What I mean is that S. multiflorus katherinae blooms
with foliage, doesn't it? S. m. multiflorus, as I grow it here, produces its
inflorescence as the new foliage is emerging, like an Ismene, and the
inflorescence quickly overtops the new leaves. 

I was surprised to hear Jim Shields report that S. m. multiflorus did not
bloom for him. Here it has bloomed every year for perhaps ten or fifteen
years - only recently has it become run down and in need of some extra

Scadoxus multiflorus katherinae has always been an expensive plant, but dry
bulbs of Scadoxus m. multiflorus can sometimes be found in local shops for
about two or three dollars each. In my experience, those newly purchased dry
bulbs have always flowered, too. 

If I had a digital slide copier, I would post some of the photos I've taken
over the years of Scadoxus m. multiflorus to the wiki.

Jim McKenney
Montgomery County, Maryland, USA, USDA zone 7, where it's another day of
cold rain and a gardener reluctant to go out into it.   

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