Mystery bulbous plant (Gianni Benetti)

Kipp McMichael
Thu, 18 Apr 2019 20:01:02 PDT

I do not grow Cyrtanthus herrei but I have Cyrtanthus falcatus which, for me, is not particularly shy about flowering and multiplying. I grow a clump in a 5G plastic pot. I also struggle with Cyrtanthus obliquus - plants which, so far, do not thrive.

I also grow other large Amaryllids. Boophane and Brunsvigia can have the reputation of being shy to flower. Once given a large root run in raised beds (with a very gravelly mix) these bulbs started flowering every year.

The images of C. herrei in habitat show situations in which the bulbs are crowded but also in which the substrate available for their roots in much larger than ~10L gallon terracotta pot.

The challenges of growing C. herrei outside their particular hot, arid climate may necessitate the smaller, porous pots people are advocating - a rotted bulb will not bloom, of course - but perhaps those small root runs are also preventing the bulbs from flowering.


From: pbs <> on behalf of Bruce Schroder <>
Sent: Thursday, April 18, 2019 6:05 PM
Subject: [pbs] Mystery bulbous plant (Gianni Benetti)

Gianni - I grow both Cyrtanthus herrei and Cyrtanthus obliquus here in
Melbourne, Australia under similar climatic conditions to you (cold, wet
winter, hot dry summer).  I am quite confident your bulb is C herrei (the
twists in the leaves are typical) and I have included a picture of one of
my 3 plants (taken in 2017).  This bulb I was given in 2014 as an offset
and it now has 3 of its own offsets.  It is obviously very happy in the
terracotta pot it is in and has been in this same pot and mix since 2014.
It is grown under cover all year round in a well lit position and only gets
artificial watering.  This is limited to a thorough soaking about every 6
weeks only in summer and a light watering about every 4 weeks during
winter.  It has no supplementary heating in winter but winter lows are
around 5C.  I have 2  seed grown bulbs which are about the same age (seed
sown in 2013 or 2014 I think).  They are in exactly the same conditions but
in slightly smaller terracotta pots and are growing strongly. In my
opinion, the bulbs should not be over potted - they prefer congestion.
According to everything I have read, Cyrtanthus herrei is notoriously shy
to flower.  The person I got my bulb from has only flowered hers once in 20
years!  NONE OF MY BULBS HAVE EVER FLOWERED!   You must remember this is an
evergreen species that grows in very harsh conditions where summer rainfall
is almost non-existent and temperatures are extreme.   It has thick,
fleshy, almost succulent leaves and combined with its natural climate and
habitat, suggests it should be virtually treated as a succulent.

Bruce Schroder
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