Calochortus from seed - planting box and nursery pot questions

George Goldsmith
Tue, 22 Oct 2019 11:54:01 PDT

Another option for growing Calochortus seeds this fall is to use planting boxes, like those described by Hugh MacDonald in the "Hugh MacDonald's Calochortus Seed Planting Instructions" page.  The boxes are just under 6 in. deep.  Here my questions are:  How many years can the young bulbs stay in the boxes before they require deeper soil?  (I'm considering C. catalinae and C. weedii var. intermedius.)  I'd like to move them as little as possible.
Given that the new bulbs would stay in the box until they must be moved, how close together can the seeds be?  Hugh's comment was that "Seedlings tolerate ½ - 1 in, but will eventually need more space.  If I plan to keep the bulbs in the box as long as possible (given the 5.5 in. depth), how close should I start the seeds?

Another option is to use the standard 6 in. diameter x 7 in. deep black plastic nursery pots.  They have more depth than the boxes but less than a raised bed.  Could Calochortus be planted in these such that they could be left there until a flowering bulb develops?  If so, how many seeds could be planted in a 6 in. diameter pot?  Or is it better to plan to remove the small bulbs after a year or two into something much deeper?

If anyone has some tested start-to-finish scenarios for growing Calochortus, whether in raised beds, boxes, or nursery containers, highlighting was really worked and what failed, that would be helpful.  This is my first serious attempt at growing these wonderful plants, and I'd like to bring as much of the collective wisdom to bear as possible.

Thanks in advance for any replies.

George Goldsmith
USDA Hardiness Zone 10a; Sunset Climate Zone 19
Chamise Chaparral Plant Community

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