[SPAM] Re: Source of Eremurus spp.

Jim McKenney jimmckenney@jimmckenney.com
Sun, 28 Oct 2007 19:43:35 PDT
Linda asked several questions about the culture of Eremurus here in

With respect to winter cold, I've never given it a second thought: I've
never lost a plant during the winter here, and I don't consider any sort of
winter protection necessary or even desirable. But as Linda noted, we're day
and night in that regard. 

With respect to summer water, as Linda put it " do you mean not a drop of
water, bone dry, not even a smidge of rain, and certainly no watering from
me?" Yes, that's pretty much it, although nothing gets bond dry here during
the summer. I would never water them during the summer, and I would get very
nervous if they were uncovered during rain. But really there's more to the
story there. I grow my plants in the local soil which is borderline
clay/loam. This soil dries out very slowly. Although the Eremurus are in a
raised bed (maybe a foot above surrounding ground level), I put covers over
them as soon as the flowers fade and long before the foliage shows any sign
of ripening. That's out of consideration for the soil - if I don't start
drying the soil early, it will not be dry enough when the plants enter
dormancy. If you were to grow the plants in a well draining medium which
dries out quickly, you might want to modify this treatment. 

Many book accounts mention planting them in sand, or packing sand around the
plants, or preparing special beds and all sorts of other bother. They seem
to grow well enough in our local stuff. The trick is to get that local stuff
dry as the plants enter dormancy. 

Linda also asked "They sprout in the fall, like muscari?  That's not in the
books." Well, yes and no. Last fall my largest plant sprouted in November. A
sprout as big around as my forearm began to push up then. The crown of the
plant in question is not buried deeply - it's probably only an inch or two
deep. During the following winter, I kept that sprout covered with an
inverted flower pot filled with soil. During the winter it never got more
than about four inches out of the ground. It eventually went on to bloom

Eremurus foliage is definitely susceptible to hard freezes here, so be ready
to protect the foliage. If they were to sprout like some Muscari and produce
mature foliage in the autumn, I suspect that even a mild zone 7 winter would
destroy such foliage. But I've never known the foliage to grow that much in
the fall or winter. 

Linda also asked when I expect to see them in the spring. The tips of the
sprouts are often evident all winter. By the first days of spring
(literally, i.e. the last week of March), I can usually make out the
inflorescence deep down in the rosette of leaves (if the plant is going to
This treatment seems to be working for me, at least in the sense that plants
get bigger and continue to bloom. 

Jim McKenney
Montgomery County, Maryland, USA, USDA zone 7, where Sternbergia greuteriana
has put up a second flush of bloom. 
My Virtual Maryland Garden http://www.jimmckenney.com/
BLOG! http://mcwort.blogspot.com/
Webmaster Potomac Valley Chapter, NARGS 
Editor PVC Bulletin http://www.pvcnargs.org/ 
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