comments EU BX

Uli via pbs
Thu, 10 Mar 2022 14:38:34 PST

Dear All,

For those of you who want to order from my donation to the EU spring BX, here are some comments

Albuca pulchra. In flower it looks like a green Eremurus, tall and upright. Seedlings will take several years to reach flowering size. A. pulchra is strictly summer growing and winter dormant and does not tolerate winter moisture. Otherwise easy in a sunny spot. Thank you, Monica Swartz for letting me have seed a few years ago.

Aponogeton distachyus: a tuberous aquatic plant from seasonal pools in South Africa. It grows and germinates in cold (no ice)  or cool water, warm water induces dormancy. Has become invasive in some parts of the world, so do not allow it into natural water habitats. My plants are strictly pot grown and kept dry during dormancy in summer. I use it as an attractive scented winter flowering aquatic in a large tub on my terrace. In summer the same tub houses Nymphaea pygmaea 'Helvola'.  Will be summer growing in cool water. Seed is moist packed and needs immediate sowing in shallow cold water with bright light.

Dioscorea discolor starts relatively late in spring and has a long growing season until mid winter. Best started with bottom heat. Vigorous climber with attractive foliage. Needs bright light to colour well. Totally dry winter dormancy.

Dahlia excelsa and D. rosea. Both are Central American Tree Dahlias, not to be considered as summer growing garden Dahlias. They are winter flowering and grow very tall, susceptible to wind damage. They need frost free conditions to flower in mid winter. They form tubers but have no dry dormancy. Both can be pruned down to the ground after flowering but if left unpruned, especially D. excelsa becomes a tall, branched woody shrub. Seed germinates in cool conditions (do not use a heated propagator) , both plants grow naturally in moist cool to temperate tropical montane forests. I offered seed of D. excelsa last year under the name of D. imperialis which it is definitely not. The identity is not certain, though.

Milla magnifica: Seed for the first time ever for me. A Mexican summer growing bulb, dry winter dormancy . White scented stars

Tradescantia boliviana is not a trailer but a stiffly upright tuberous perennial. Strictly summer growing and absolutely dry winter dormancy. Needs ample water and low nitrogen fertilizer during summer and as much direct sun as ever possible, otherwise it will not remain upright. Lots of small pink flowers over a long season from morning until early afternoon, popular with insects.

Neomarica: received as a new species, identity unknown to me. Tall plant, magnificent dark blue flowers with beige patterns in the centre. Needs to have a certain size to flower well but then spectacular. Forms plantlets on the spent flower stalks.

Nymphaea 'Doris Holt' One of the best tropical Nymphaea Hybrids. Attractive leaves with red splashes and bright purplish red flowers with yellow centre, scented. Every leaf can form a new plant by producing a tiny leaf tuber, these viviparous waterlilies may become invasive in the right climate, so do not let them escape into natural water habitats. Treatment of the leaf tuber you get: Depending where you live: keep it in the fridge until light intensity and day length is good. Do not allow it to go dry in the meantime. Then start it in warm water (not below 20°C) in a small pot with loam or clay substrate (no organic matter) in very shallow water and give artificial light if there is no direct sun. The warmer the water is the more light it needs. The tiny tuber will soon wake up and produce roots and small leaves, submerged at first. Once the first floating leaves are formed fertilize with Osmocote. Best grown outdoors during summer with as much sun as possible, give a big pot and repeat fertilizing. Adult plants can grow to a diameter of about 1,5m and are best in shallow warm water (about 20cm above substrate). Adult plants form a tuber but I never managed to get a dormant tuber started again. I always found it easy to start from leaf tubers which form at the end of summer. Here in Portugal it does not go fully dormant. In Germany I have overwintered adult plants in a frost free greenhouse in a bucket of water after trimming off almost all the leaves, unheated and as bright as possible. I wrote a detailed article on tropical waterlilies in the Bulb Garden, Volume 16, issue 2, spring 2017. 

Happy growing!

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