ferraria...I have seedlings!

Leo Martin
Sun, 24 Jan 2016 13:06:45 PST
Anna wrote

I finally got some ferraria crispa seeds planted that I have had a couple
> years...and have seedlings! Wondering if there is anything special I should
> do to ensure survival?

Great news! They're not hard to grow. I see from your domain you're in
Saskatchewan, so I will try and tailor some suggestions.

They grow in the cool but not frigid winter. They get frequent cool winter
rains. They tolerate a little frost at night, but not like in Saskatchewan.
They go dormant in the spring when it warms up. The leaves die down
completely, and they stay leafless all summer. In the fall, when it cools
down and winter rains come, they start to grow again. Seedlings usually
bloom in their 2nd to 4th winter.

Right now, don't let them dry out. Give them as much light as you can.
Direct winter sun in Arizona is not too much, so do what you can. Keep them
as cool as you can, since warm temperatures trigger them to go dormant.

In the spring, when you aren't likely to have much freezing weather, you
can put them outside. As it gets hot they will start to turn yellow and die
down. Stop watering at this point, and put them someplace out of the rain,
so they stay dry all summer.

Next fall, when days are still warm, but it is cool at night, put the pot
outside. Wait a week so the bulbs can feel the temperature changes, and
then really soak the pot once. If they haven't sprouted in about a week
from the watering, let the pot dry out, and try again in another week.
Repeat this cycle until they sprout.

Once they sprout, keep them moist and bright all winter. Bring them inside
when it's going to be colder than about -5C at night, or if it's going to
be below freezing during the day. You can fertilize with a diluted house
plant fertilizer, perhaps 1/4-1/2 strength, every 2-4 weeks while growing.
They will grow faster with fertilizer but it's not necessary.

Don't let the goats eat them!

After a few years they pot will be overcrowded. Divide when they are
dormant. Some people store them dormant in a paper bag, but I like to repot
right away. I don't water them until the next fall. I like to use plain
soil from nature, not bagged mixes.

Let us know how you're doing. There are a lot of other bulbs that grow just
like this. The tricky part for people in cold-winter climates is providing
enough winter light along with very cool temperatures, much cooler than
most people keep their houses during the winter. Some people have a
greenhouse, and some use a room with artificial lights and the heating vent
closed. Even with a greenhouse some people add more artificial lighting.

Leo Martin
Phoenix Arizona USA
Zone 9b?

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