Flowering now - Scilla madeirensis

Lee Poulsen wpoulsen@pacbell.net
Thu, 16 Nov 2017 17:49:30 PST
On Nov 16, 2017, at 10:14 AM, Pamela Slate <myixia1@gmail.com> wrote:
> The archives have a discussion when the bulbs were offered by Longfield
> Gardens in 2014. They too were from Israel. 

I missed getting some bulbs in 2014, but was able to get some in 2015. I think I was able to submit a request to notify me when they became available again so I was able to purchase them as soon as they had them in stock again. It seems that they always quickly sell out wherever they’re offered.

Here are my observations after two years:

I purchased 3 bulbs in the fall of 2015, planted them in a well-draining mix and place them in 3 different micro-climate locations around my house since I didn’t know what growing conditions they like. They have done well for the past two years since I think their native climate is similar to California’s. However, there were two things I’ve experienced that I didn’t expect.

1. One pot was out in a completely exposed location. (Another was up against the house and another was under partial shade from a tree.) The winter before last there was one night where it got down to or close to 0°C, but there was definitely quite a bit of frost on everything that wasn’t near the house or under a canopy of leaves or shade cloth. Air temperature itself was only around freezing early in the morning for a few hours. However, all the leaves on the exposed S. madeirensis were killed. It recovered, but I have added a tag to their pots as one of the few mediterranean-climate species I have that nevertheless do not like 0°C temperatures when exposed to clear night skies. (There are a handful of my other plants that are similar—meaning I have to grow them under some kind of canopy in the winter.)

2. This autumn, I discovered to my horror that one of the pots had been left out all year long this year in an area that gets watered by sprinklers, meaning it got watered all summer while it was dormant and the temperatures were hot. I’ve made this mistake in the past a couple of time with summer dormant mediterranean climate species and the bulbs rotted. I don’t know if I was just lucky, but the bulb not only didn’t die, it started leafing out in early September even though it was still warm. It sent up a scape shortly thereafter and bloomed later in September. I checked my other dormant pots and one of them had started to poke some leaves out of the pot in late September, so I watered it. And it thereafter sent up a scape and flowered in mid-October. The third pot which I never watered since it went dormant last spring, has started poking leaves up out of the pot—as have many of my winter-growing mediterranean species recently. The other two have long since lost their flower. However, when I was checking on them, I discovered that the first one has about a dozen small spherical seedpods forming on it even though there wereno other S. madeirensis blooming or even growing anywhere around that I know of. The second plant that flowered didn’t form any seedpods.

That’s my report.
BTW, I know this has been asked a number of times before over the years, but it would be really, really helpful when describing how something grows for you (or doesn’t grow for you) if you would put some kind of minimal location information (typically in your signature line at the end of the email), such as your city and state, or city and country, or region. Something that will clue us in on what kind of climate you live in. There’s a big difference between a hot dry desert summer climate and a cool wet alpine summer climate for example. It gives all of us an idea of whether some new-to-us beauty might grow in our yard, too. Thanks!

--Lee Poulsen
Pasadena, California, USA - USDA Zone 10a
Latitude 34°N, Altitude 1150 ft/350 m

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