How to Grow Crinum bulbispermum from seed in a northernclimate.
Fri, 19 Jul 2013 14:24:18 PDT
I have to remove seed heads or else they will self sow.  Kept under mulch in 
winter.  I can just dig up seedlings after a year or two.
Frank Cooper zone 5-6.

-----Original Message----- 
From: James Waddick
Sent: Friday, July 19, 2013 2:10 PM
To: Pacific Bulb Society
Subject: [pbs] How to Grow Crinum bulbispermum from seed in a 

Dear Friends,

This may be a repeat for many, but it seems to come up again and again. I 
sent a pound of seed to Dell recently and this works for most hardy crinum 
seed more or less. There are some variables.

Fresh Crinum seed is large, green and fleshy. Big seed can be an inch 
across, smaller see seed pea size. They do not have a long shelf life and 
should be planted right away. The initial planting medium is not very 
important, but I use a commercial potting mix -sometimes add some sand.

Use a good size pot - 1 or more seed per pot. 3 seeds in in 5 in pot seems 
right. Fill to an inch of the top.

Press the seed into the soil, but allow at least 1/2 exposed to light. Water 
well and keep slightly damp. Do not allow to become dry, dry.

Seeds germinate within days to a week or two. The primary root will emerge 
and turn into the soil where it will form a small bulb and foliage will 

Seedlings will look like a small scallion. In northern climates (Zone 5/6) 
these will probably NOT survive a normal winter down to 0 or +5 F. Seedling 
pots should be kept frost free. If given light and water they will grow 
slowly all winter even at low/above freezing temps. If kept cool and dark 
with some water they will sit dormant until spring.

First spring I keep them well watered and fertilized in their seedling pot 
until late summer/ early fall. By fall seeedlings should be more typical 
scallion size -diameter of a pencil. These can be planted out as deep as 
possible - 5 or 6 in to base of bulb. And mulched well over winter.

2nd spring, they should really put on growth. Bulbs will pull themselves 
deeper and can easily triple in size. That winter a little mulch protection 
will help.

3rd spring they could have first bloom or repeat pattern of 2nd spring, 
getting bigger.

Once established they need a little winter protection, but depends on exact 
exposure ( full sun recommended). Bloom gets bigger and bigger. Multiple 
flower spikes etc. Of course there are many specific site variables and each 
species or cv may also vary somewhat.

Hardy Crinums once established are relatively trouble free and will produce 
large flowers on tall spikes in the heat of summer when little else is 
blooming in northern gardens. I urge all northern gardeners to give them a 
try. Some species are far hardier than the literature suggest and are very 
satisfying garden subjects.

In my Kansas City garden I grow over a dozen different species, selections 
and hybrids and keep finding more with hardiness potential. Grow for it!!

Good Luck Jim W.
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