Asphodelus albus

Jane McGary
Wed, 21 Jun 2006 10:39:16 PDT
Max asked,

>Is Asphodelus albus summer-dormant? I assumed it was, and started
>witholding water to a plant I got in the ground rather late this year,
>but then came the flash of self-doubt that so often accompanies idle
>moments in the garden: maybe it's turning brown _because_ I'm witholding

Here in northern Oregon, it becomes dormant around the beginning of August. 
It may go through its growth cycle earlier where Max lives on San Francisco 

For those unfamiliar with it, it is a large, stately clump-forming plant 
with copious foliage and tall stems closely set with white flowers (which 
become ragged as they age). Here it flowers mostly in late May. Suitable 
for the sunny border or growing among small shrubs, it is easily lifted and 
divided into separate crowns while dormant. It is a common monocot seen 
among scrub in the Mediterranean region. It is easily grown from seed, 
which is readily available through the NARGS exchange.

The dearth of information about it may stem from the fact that it's too big 
and leafy for the typical "bulb" setting, but not a favorite in the border 
because of the big hole it leaves when it goes dormant in midsummer. I have 
it on the sunny side of a dense magnolia, with narcissus and some 
self-sowing annuals and biennials. My garden is extremely informal and 
little visited by others, so I don't care about blank spaces at various times.

Jane McGary
Northwestern Oregon, USA

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