Tropaeolum notes

Jane McGary
Sat, 12 Jan 2008 11:19:59 PST
Paul in Canberra wrote,
Tropaeolum tricolor isn't bothered by -8 or -9'C in the slightest.  I grow it
>outside here, both in 8 inch black plastic pots and in the
>ground.  No problemo at all here at least, but obviously I can't
>vouch for any colder.

An interesting thing about this species is its wide distribution in the 
wild. You can see it right on the coastal strip where there probably is 
never anything approaching frost, and up into the Andean foothills 
flowering within the winter snow zone, in really nasty chilly weather. I 
suspect seeds from the populations in colder areas would produce hardier 
plants than seeds from the coast. I don't know where the material in 
general cultivation came from originally, though.

Like Diana I prefer twiggy branches to chicken wire supports for the small 
trops. When we get a severe cold snap and I have to lay microfoam sheets 
over my bulbs, I carefully lift the trop supports and lay them flat, then 
reset them when I remove the foam. You can manipulate the threadlike stems 
quite a bit without harming them. T. brachyceras seems to be the most 
cold-hardy species I have here. I've recently seen it on Dutch wholesale 
lists, so perhaps Russell Stafford (Odyssey Bulbs) will be bringing in tubers?

Jane McGary
Northwestern Oregon, USA

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