Cardiocrinum cordatum in a Maryland woodland

Jane McGary
Thu, 20 Nov 2014 09:36:17 PST
WHen I visited Japan last spring, I was amazed to see how 
Cardiocrinum grows in the woodland in the north of the island of 
Honshu. There were plants (not yet raising flowering stems) of every 
size, that is, age, all over the flatter parts of the moist 
streamside deciduous forest. It was a major part of the herbaceous 
understory and mostly growing as individual plants, suggesting that 
seed rather than offsets was its primary means of propagation.

Here in western North America many of us struggle to grow 
Cardiocrinum well, because it is hard to provide enough summer 
moisture and humidity for it. It is also attacked badly by slugs. 
However, a grower just south of Portland used to produce thousands of 
bulbs which he started in raised beds in hoop houses (poly tunnels) 
and then brought on in irrigated fields in full sun. I've seen the 
plants that resulted flowering in 2-gallon pots at garden centers, 
priced at $50! In those pots they probably were not making offsets, 
and the buyers would find themselves with nothing when the monocarpic 
bulb died off.

Jane McGary
Portland, Oregon, USA

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