How to Grow Crinum bulbispermum from seed in a northern climate.

James Waddick
Fri, 19 Jul 2013 12:10:11 PDT
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 emerge. 

	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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