Lachenalia sargeantii

Diana Chapman
Fri, 06 Sep 2013 07:09:56 PDT
Hi Colin:

The little offset you gave me a couple of years ago has never sprouted.  
I still have it, but haven't checked to see if it is actually still 
there.  I never know what to do with bulbs like this, ones that stay 
dormant.  Do you still water in the growing season, or just keep them 
dry when you see no signs of growth (Tropaeolum also do this).

> To all PBS Lachenaliacs - I have just sent a good amount of offsets of
> Lachenalia sargeantii to Dell for an upcoming BX. As I will be backpacking
> in France and Spain for the next couple of months I will not be able to
> answer any potential questions about this species, and since it behaves
> markedly different than other members of the genus I thought I would
> comment.
> L. sargeantii produces copious amounts of offsets annually, far more than
> any other I have grown (counted nearly 50 off one mature bulb this year). I
> have posted a picture of this on the PBS site.
> Also, these offsets can remain stubbornly dormant for however long they see
> fit (some come up the first year planted, others take years off). As I
> understand in the wild this species can remain dormant for many years on
> end, emerging only when fire clears surrounding vegetation and allows this
> species to flower. I have tried to induce flowering with smoke treatment as
> well as burning matter on the soil surface, all to no avail. Nevertheless,
> I have plans for more extensive trials including in-ground treatments, so I
> hope to crack the code with this species, which is far tougher than the
> related L. montana. Another interesting bit about this species is that it
> grows on much longer than the other Lachenalia, well into the heat of
> summer if given water. I usually get tired of seeing it so force dormancy
> by withholding water. Curiously though, my plants come up reliably every
> year, in contrast to their wild brethren. Its the offsets they produce
> which are finicky about breaking dormancy in fall. They also naturally pull
> themselves a bit deeper than other Lachenalia (about 6cm), which is an
> important aspect to pay attention to for all geophytes, especially when
> repotting.
> They also require weekly sacrificial lambs, but other than that, they
> require the same treatment as other Lachenalia. The offsets are a mix from
> 8 different seed raised parents (judiciously monitored for and protected
> from Virus), for those who are conservationally-minded like myself. Best of
> luck with them!
> Colin
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