Pillansia templemannii

James Hitchmough j.d.hitchmough@sheffield.ac.uk
Mon, 14 Dec 2009 09:06:30 PST
I grew some Pillansia from seed from Silverhill too. They were 
overwintered in a cold glasshouse last winter, and exposed to about -5C. 
About half of the 6-9month old seedlings tolerated this, the others 
died. I think this spp requires extremely well drained soils, in its 
habitat soils look like coarse sand. I grew them in a 50:50 mix of grit 
and a proprietory peat based compost. Had I grown them in pure sand I 
think more would have survived. The survivors were put outside in spring 
and then  under glass lights during an extended period of heavy summer 
rain (for weeks and weeks). To be honest they did not show any signs of 
damage from this; it was a "just in case" action. Unfortunately I sort 
of forgot about them and by September they had browned off as a result 
of drought. I transplanted them to a very free draining compost 
(grit/sand 80%: peat compost 20%) in September. The roots had shrivelled 
but the corms looked good, although only about 5 mm across. They are now 
sitting in a cold frame, but have not resprouted yet. I think they may 
yet do so but perhaps the drought stress has thrown them into some form 
of extended dormancy?  It may just be 5-10C (the average temp in the 
frames) is just too low for them to initiate veg growth at present?

I think the uncultivatable suggestions in Bryans book are based on 
heresay.  My experience thus far suggests that like Tritoniopsis the 
critical cultivation factor is probably extremely well drained, highly 
aerated compost. Coarse sand only or Seramis are probably the way 
forward. Getting them to flower may be another issue, they seem to be an 
obligate fire responder.  Hope this is useful


Dr James Hitchmough
Professor of Horticultural Ecology
Department of Landscape
University of Sheffield
S10 2TN  UK

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