Coastal California blooming

Mary Sue Ittner
Wed, 10 Sep 2008 12:09:56 PDT

Except for the exciting progress of the San Diego Brunsvigia and Diana's 
news (which doesn't really count since she grows her plants in giant 
greenhouses where conditions are not the same as growing outside) most of 
the reports of what has been blooming has been from the parts of our group 
that get water in summer. We last had good rain where I live in northern 
coastal California in February and only a little more than trace in the 
couple of months after that and no rain at all I don't think since maybe 
April. We water just enough to keep the trees and shrubs alive and the few 
summer rainfall bulbs I grow in pots like Haemanthus, Nerine, Cyrtanthus. 
Stick your finger in the soil an inch down and it is bone dry. I've tried 
Rhodophiala a number of times, but it just disappears in short order in the 
ground and I never got any to bloom in pots either. I suspect Lycoris 
wouldn't be a go either and forget rain lilies except for Zephyranthes 
atamasco and Zephyranthes candida (the one that lives with my Meyer lemon 
where it gets regular water). Obviously plants that need a change in 
atmospheric pressure with rain aren't going to get that here in summer.

However, that doesn't mean that in this Mediterranean climate we can't have 
late summer-fall blooms. I've really enjoyed my Amaryllis belladonna this 
year, especially since different plants have bloomed at different times. 
Some of the South African Gladiolus that bloom before leaves have been 
blooming including my favorite in this category, Gladious carmineus. I'm 
seeing good spikes on my Nerine sarniensis hybrids and Nerine humilis 
(these are in the greenhouse however). Cyclamen species in pots and in the 
ground are blooming as well as new leaves appearing every day. Acis 
(Leucojum) species have bloomed, but only in pots as the ones I planted out 
in the ground are long gone.

I got my Oxalis repotted early which I have learned means the fall bloomers 
do much better and I have nine taxa blooming already and others appearing 
every day. One other that is blooming that it looks like can be grown in 
dry and wet summers is Scilla scilloides which broke dormancy not so long 
ago and is now blooming.

Mary Sue

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