How to grow Calochortus, the novel

Jane McGary
Sun, 08 Aug 2010 04:46:14 PDT
Max wrote,
One thing I can contribute: all the species
>I have tried (including kennedyi, catalinae, and striatus) have
>germinated well under cold stratification, even if they did not
>require it. After germination, my luck has been less good, though I do
>still have 3rd year seedlings of the above-named spp.

The three species Max mentions have all survived to mature size here 
in a much less congenial climate than Oakland, but under cover in 
frames where moisture can be controlled. Kennedyi and catalinae have 
flowered but striatus has not (perhaps it misses its severely 
alkaline natural soil?). It took C. kennedyi about 6 years from seed 
to flowering, but I think catalinae was a bit faster. Some that can 
flower in 4 years from seed are C. venustus, C. tolmiei, C. 
uniflorus, and C. obispoensis.

When planting Calochortus seed, do not crowd them in the pot, because 
they're very susceptible to damping off. I leave the seedlings in 
their seed pots for 2 years, giving them a little liquid fertilizer, 
then put them in deep clay pots, about halfway down. Eventually they 
"drop" to near the bottom of the pot, and I'm sure they will be much 
happier int he 18-inch/45-cm depth to which I'm moving them this fall.

I lifted the last pots from the bulb frames Saturday morning, and 
just in time, too, because tonight it's raining a little. I left a 
number of species in their pots in a shady place -- those that 
dislike disturbance and storage, such as Anemone, Ranunculus, 
Lewisia, and Lomatium, and a few that were still in growth, such as 
Alstroemeria. Now I hope I have time to rescue all the volunteers 
that came up in the plunge sand between the pots! The beds in the new 
bulb house will be built next week.

Jane McGary
Northwestern Oregon, USA

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