Long-flowering bulbs

Mary Sue Ittner msittner@mcn.org
Sat, 05 Apr 2014 17:17:36 PDT
Some time ago Diane Whitehead mentioned how long the flowers on her 
Narcissus romieuxii were open. I've not noticed this plant to have 
flowers that last a long time in my garden, but next year I'll pay 
more attention. I have noticed that rain puts an end to some flowers 
and others don't seem to be bothered much at all.  Since most years I 
have a fair amount of winter rainfall I think I should be making a 
list of the latter.

I admire plants that bloom for a long time, even if it is just a 
matter of producing new flowers all the time. Like Mike Mace Moraea 
polystachya is like that for me. Oxalis compressa from Uli started 
blooming in December and although not every day the flowers open, it 
is still blooming now (although with our recent rains the leaves 
aren't very attractive.) A double form from the BX however has been a 
poor bloomer. If it does bloom, it isn't for long. Spiloxene serrata 
is another plant that puts up flower after flower. It bloomed this 
year first in November. I didn't see any flowers in December, but 
starting in January on nice sunny days it has flowers and still is 
blooming. Some of my Oxalis purpurea forms bloomed this year from 
October through March. I think the plants did better than usual in 
this dry year.

Some years, but not every year, Cyrtanthus brachyscaphus, can bloom 
for four or five months. Cyclamen cilicum plants I have produce 
flowers some years for 4 or 5 months. Occasionally other Cyclamen 
species will have an extended blooming period.

Nothoscordum montevidensa blooms twice, in the fall and in the spring.

Like Diane, I think it is interesting to speculate why some things 
bloom for such a long time. On the other hand I've not had any luck 
at all with Galaxia (now Moraea). The only one I ever got to bloom 
was Moraea fugacissima  and in spite of being told that like some 
other Moraea species it would put up a succession of blooms, I only 
ever saw signs of bloom for one day a year and even that was not a 
whole day.  It definitely lived up to its name. One year I missed it 
although the next day I could see it had bloomed. One of Cameron's 
photos on the wiki show what look like spent blooms while it is 
blooming, so perhaps it just didn't like my growing conditions. Other 
species I tried never bloomed and dwindled away.

Mary Sue

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