J.E. Shields jshields@indy.net
Fri, 29 Jun 2007 05:14:12 PDT
Hi All,

I'm glad to hear Mary Sue can grow Haemanthus now.  I grow several species 
here in Indiana, but my results are nothing beside what Doug can do in Long 
Beach, California.

I grow both sorts of Haemanthus, the winter-growing species like barkerae, 
coccineus, crispus, lanceifolius, namaquensis, all in our greenhouse 
year-round; and we also grow some summer-growing species, including 
albiflos, humilis humilis, humilis hirsutus, montanus, and pauculifolius 
(spell?), all of which spend the winters inside the greenhouse but the 
summer outdoors.

We have been getting mixed results.  H. coccineus is very easy to grow 
under our conditions, and tolerates the dry heat in the summer greenhouse 
(up to 120 F) seemingly without trouble.  My bulbs of this species run 
around 9 years old and have gradually gotten fairly large.  Their leaves 
generally do not reach 12 inches by 9 inches, however.  Repotting from 
their present 1-gal. pots into 2-gal. pots might get them there, one 
day.  As they grow, they can use larger pots.      They are very good 
bloomers, flowering somewhere from late July to early October, depending on 
the weather outside the greenhouse.  Once they start to flower, they seem 
quite reliable in following years.

H. barkerae do well in the greenhouse too, and we are getting good bloom 
from them in late summer to early autumn.  H. crispus seem to be growing 
well, and I got one or two to bloom last year.  H. lanceifolius has not so 
far bloomed for me, nor have the H. namaquensis.

The H. montanus bloomed about a month ago, and those that have not died in 
past seasons now seem happy enough here.  H. humilis humilis is also 
starting to bloom just now, but only two out of a couple dozen bulbs are 
flowering.  H. humilis hirsutus is problematic, many large bulbs and even 
more small seedling bulbs having perished here over the years.  I have had 
this subspecies bloom here just twice, but I keep trying, begging my 
friends for more seeds and more mature bulbs!  Some of us have a hard time 
learning from experience, I guess.

I got hybrid seeds from [hirsutus X coccineus] the second time it bloomed, 
and I want to someday try to make [hirsutus X montanus].  I saved a little 
of the montanus pollen, and I want to try making the cross [coccineus X 
montanus] later this season when the coccineus bloom again.

Haemanthus species that have not done well here include nortieri, which is 
quite a rarity;  I have one bulb hanging on, but.......     H. amarylloides 
grows very slowly for me, and the seedlings just keep disappearing, a 
couple each year.   I'm also growing a couple subspecies of H. pubescens, 
which are surviving but do not, so far, seem to increase in size; they 
haven't flowered for me.  H. sanguineus seems impossible for me to 
grow.  9-year old seedling bulbs (the few I still have left) are barely 1/2 
inch in diameter; sanguineus seems another lost cause here.

So welcome to the Haemanthus club, Mary Sue, and may you enjoy ever more 
Haemanthus bulbs and flowers!

Jim Shields
in central Indiana (USA)

Jim Shields             USDA Zone 5             Shields Gardens, Ltd.
P.O. Box 92              WWW:    http://www.shieldsgardens.com/
Westfield, Indiana 46074, USA
Tel. ++1-317-867-3344     or      toll-free 1-866-449-3344 in USA

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