Lee Poulsen
Tue, 14 Jan 2020 11:49:22 PST
There are rarely a few others (like on eBay occasionally), but the one consistent source of bulbs that I’ve seen over the years is Gordon Summerfield’s annual catalogue <>. He usually sends them out as PDF files every year in October or November. He usually has a bulb seed catalog, a bulb catalog, and a Gethyllis only catalog. He doesn’t offer seeds of Gethyllis or Amaryllidaceae, only bulbs.

In fact, it’s difficult because Gethyllis (and a lot of the South African Amaryllidaceae) have what are called recalcitrant seeds. (I think it’s a misnomer. It sounds like such seeds are uncooperative or difficult to germinate when in fact it’s the exact opposite: It’s almost impossible to keep them from germinating on their own even without sowing them in soil!) I think they were called that by botanists who thought of them as uncooperative in allowing them to store the seeds so they could be taken back home to Europe and germinated there. Almost no one in South Africa offers the seeds of those kinds of species. Probably because they have to offer them, sell them, and ship them within a week or two after they’re ripe. Back when Rod and Rachel Saunders were still around, they instituted an email list to notify subscribers of when that type of seed became available. Then you had to quickly order the ones you wanted. Even so, they would often arrive already having germinated. This didn’t kill them; it was easy to put them into small pots. The other problem however, was that they were 6 months out of sync with us in the northern hemisphere. So even though they should grow through the cool winter, they would arrive and be potted just in time for the heat of our summers. I still managed to get a lot of certain genera to survive. But the ones I had the most difficulty have been the ones that Summerfield excels in offering: Hessea, Strumaria, and Gethyllis. The problem of changing hemispheres is still there when ordering bulbs, too. I kept wishing I could find someone in Washington state or British Columbia to grow them through that first summer for me.

Still, there are people out there in the northern hemisphere who have managed to get them to survive and grow them on.

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

> On Jan 14, 2020, at 10:00 AM, Jane Sargent <> wrote:
> I had never heard of this genus but am now in love. I suspect this is the kind of plant I would kill, but it might be worth trying to grow it anyway. Is there any known source for the bulb or the seeds?  Jane C

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