American Fritillaria

Jane McGary
Tue, 05 Sep 2006 16:46:29 PDT
Jim McKenney wrote,

I wish I lived around the corner from Jane McGary so I could drop in now and
>then to check things out and see first hand what she is doing - or at least
>experience the weather in that part of the country. It's been surprisingly
>hard for me to understand the requirements of many west coast plants.

The local terms for the four seasons are as follows: almost winter, winter, 
still raining, and construction.

Jim's experience with Dutch-grown F. glauca and F. pudica is, 
unfortunately, par for the course. I have heard that many stocks of F. 
glauca coming from the Netherlands are virus-infected. I was fortunate 
enough to get the strain "Goldilocks" from its introducer, Wim de Goede, 
when it was still healthy, and I still have it -- in the bulb frame. F. 
glauca, a serpentine endemic, is extremely moisture-sensitive. F. pudica 
grows mostly in areas where winters are not too wet and summers are very 
dry; it does not succeed outdoors for me, even though it is native less 
than an hour's drive inland from here.

I disagree with Jim's watering regimen (" I didn't pot the bulbs up until
>late October, and they were watered once then to get them started; they were
>not watered again much if at all until I saw growth above ground. Once there
>was growth above ground, I watered them whenever I was watering the other
>plants with which they grew. When they came into bloom, I took that as a
>signal to stop watering.").

The roots grow long before the leaves appear on most species. I think that 
once they're watered in fall, they should be kept moderately moist through 
their growth period. I do not stop watering them (actually I rarely need to 
water in winter because ground water rises into the frame plunge medium) 
when they flower, because I think it will affect seed set badly. I stop 
watering them when the foliage loses its glossy appearance and becomes dull 
on the surface.

I would not soak any frit bulb overnight to rehydrate it. One method I use 
is to pack bulbs in barely moist vermiculite (I hate perlite but John 
Lonsdale uses it with great success) in a plastic bag, kept cool. Overnight 
soaking is, however, effective with purchased Anemone and Ranunculus tubers.

I didn't see Jim stating that his pots were plunged to the rim in his frame 
but assume they are; this is very important for maintaining health in bulbs 
when they are dried off in summer.

Jane McGary
Northwestern Oregon, USA

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