Mary Sue Ittner
Wed, 19 Oct 2005 14:32:47 PDT
Dear Jaime,

Dietes is used as a landscape plant in California or shall I say overused 
as a landscape plant in California because it grows so well and blooms so 
long. Most of these are evergreen summer rainfall plants from South Africa. 
I think the ones I've seen that are most successful were blooming in parts 
of California where it gets warmer during the day in summer than it does 
here in coastal Northern California. It may be just that when you were in 
Florida the plant was in between blooms. There are a lot of Moraea species 
(different genus, but same habit of sending up intermittent blooms) you 
think are done blooming that surprise you later when more flowers appear. 
The only species I grow here has been blooming off and on this summer, but 
I don't think I have it planted where it would be happiest as there is too 
much shade from trees. I know many of these are forest margin plants, but 
in my climate they may need more sunshine since it is cooler.

I've read Dietes is not so easy from seed, that in fact there may be 
delayed germination. As for Irid seed being hard, it's a huge genus and my 
experience with it is that a lot of Irid seed is very easy for me, but not 
all. Some genera are easier than others for me, but having said that there 
are species in those genera that are challenging too. So maybe Jaime you've 
just tried some that are harder to germinate than others.

Alberto seems to have better luck with growing things from seed than a lot 
of us. Perhaps he  has a more forgiving climate or better technique. Things 
he says germinate 100% for him sometimes haven't germinated at all for me.

We have rain here the same time of the year that you do and a whole lot of 
it as well. I don't have much problem with drainage however since I have 
trees that soak up the rain and horrible rocky sandstone soil that 
underneath the top soil we have added isn't even brown. Horrible if you 
want to grow perennials, vegetables, and other plants that like good soil. 
I think you should be able to grow these and get them to bloom. I doubt 
Linda who asked the question first could plant hers out however. And since 
it grows and flowers very well in Southern California I doubt it needs cold 
to bloom. As for telling what species it is from the leaves I expect that 
might be difficult unless you had a key that detailed those differences. 
Many of the species have sword-like leaves in a loose fan.

Mary Sue

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