PBS list and growing bulbs in Hawai`i

Jacob Knecht sabepafronta@yahoo.com
Thu, 24 May 2007 12:35:30 PDT
Greetings Mary and bulbophiles,

My main reason for posting is just to share my
gratitude for this group and all who take time to
contribute. I really think this is a fantastic
organisation, the PBS Wiki is phenomenal.  Although I
have been growing bulbs for a while I still don't feel
like I have that much more advice to add than what has
already been placed in previous discussions. 

I am a new member of the group (joined in Januaray)
but came upon the discussion archives about three
years ago and and I can confess that I have read just
about 80% of all of them discussions.  Now I mainly
just pay attention to posts pertaining to
Amarylidaceae, and other geophytes that can be grown
in Mediterranean and tropical gardens.

I just participated in my first BX last month and I
was very pleased with what I received.  I am so
grateful to this service of sharing.  I look forward
to when I can contribute. 

I am not sure if this has been attempted before but I
am trying various winter and summer rainfall
Amaryllids  from seed, namely Brunsvigia, Boophone,
Gethyllis, Ammocharis, Nerine, Crossyne, and
Haemanthus here in the tropical climate of Honolulu on
the island of O‘ahu, Hawai‘i.  Elevation 121m/400 ft.
Average annual rainfall 58cm/23in.  Winter low
18C/65F, Summer high 33C/92F. - hot, dry, and windy. 
I am also trying out Cyrtanthus brachyscyphus,
Calostemma and Rhodophialia bagnoldii and Merwilla
plumbea.  I also am very grateful to have gotten some
Crinum luteolum seed from the BX and I have high hopes
that they will perform well for me in my climate.  

I see this as a 10-15 year experiment to see if I can
not only successfully grow these South African bulbs
in this climate, but also get them to bloom!  If I am
fortunate to develop a strategy at getting these to
bloom in my climate I will be sure to keep the board
updated.  If they don't do so well, I intend to try
some up in the high elevations of Maui island where
Protea are so successfully grown.  

Last spring I sowed seed of Haemanthus humulis ssp.
humilis Ammocharis coranica, Brunsvigia gregaria,
Nerine laticoma, N. huttoniae, and Brunsvigia
grandiflora.  The seeds of all except the B.
grandiflora got held up in customs for almost two
months!  I had ordered a relatively large quantity of
seed of each species which I suppose was providential
because thankfully there were a few seeds of each
species viable by the time I received them.  Because
these got off to a bad start I'm not sure how fairly I
should judge their progress.  A year on the Haemanthus
are doing very well.  The Nerine are like blades of
grass but they seem fine.  The Brunsvigia grandiflora
that weren't delayed and arrived viable are super
happy!  I have high hopes for them.

I can report that my Eucomis vandermerwei in the past
two years has done almost nothing in this climate.  It
has pushed leaves twice but they were much smaller and
weaker than the ones it grew in Los Angeles before I
moved it here.  I wonder if any other Eucomis would
perform at all in the tropics?  They must need more
diurnal differentials and lower winter temps.  No
worries, I'm sending it home to my friend who tends my
other bulbs in Santa Barbara, CA and I trust it will
be happy again.

Then of course as I have mentioned on the board
before, I am growing tropical Amaryllids such as
Stenomesson, Phaedranassa, Eustephia, Eucrosia,
Rauhia, Zephyranthes, Griffinia, Worsleya (these 1 yr
old seedlings are a constant source of worry, but I
know some will make it to adulthood) as well as
Polianthes and Bessera.  

A very kind friend gave me some seed of Hippeastrum
calyptratum and they have grown with so much vigour!! 
I sowed three seeds to a pot.  I used 3.5" terra cotta
pots with holes drilled in the sides for root aeration
(similiar to what is done for orchids).  The media was
crushed black scoria, dolomite, horticultural charcoal
and a tiny bit of peat.  I have never been more
excited and pleased as watching seedlings grow.  I
love how the new leaves have a reddish tinge too!  I
am growing them under 30% shade cover in a greenhouse
that has humidity range from 60-80%.

I have only been growing in this climate for two years
now, so in the future I will have much more
information to contribute to the group. Most of my
bulbs need more time to get happy roots before they
put on any big shows.... at least that's my theory.

I am always on the lookout for non hybridised species
(an non virused!) of Eucharis, Griffinia and other S.
American amaryllids.  There are so many exciting
little treasures that should be brought into
cultivation.  I'd like to grow Proiphys as well.  

By the way, has anyone ever seen Pseudogaltonia
clavata, Eucrosia dodsonii, Stenomesson auranticum,
Bessera tenuiflora or Urceolina pendula for sale?  

Well that's plenty for today, I have HEAPS of
gardening to do today


Jacob Knecht
Honolulu, Hawai`i.

P.S.  I keep a botanical photo gallery (and borderline
gardenblog) of my garden and botanic gardens at:

here is a picture of Rauhia multiflora at Koko Crater
Botanic Garden I took. 
The leaves were shiny because of the spray of the
irrigation.  They also have some clumps of Eucrosia
bicolor there in the 'Americas' section.

see my botanical photography at:

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