We had more rain last night, for a total of about 0.7 inch in the past few weeks. This is very welcome!
I've been talking for the past several years about how hardy some Crinum are. One of the hardiest was Crinum variabile, native to the Western Cape province in South Africa and, there, a winter growing plant -- because their rainfall occurs in their winter. Here, it is an opportunistic grower, and happily grows in summer and goes dormant in winter, whether because of cold or lack of water.
All of my small C. variabile seedling bulbs that were lined out in the field died over last winter. It was not terribly cold, but we had exceptionally warm periods of up to a month that alternated with seasonably cold periods of about a month. There was planty of moisture as well, one 10 to 15 inch deep snowfall and plenty of rain in the warmer spells.
The changeable winter weather seems to have been fatal for most of the small seedling Crinum bulbs (1 to 2 years old), and not just C. variabile. Even my very large C. variabile bulbs in the field were damaged, and have been very slow to come up this season.
Also lost were all the small C. bulbispermum seedling bulbs out in the field. I don't have any really large bulbs of C. bulbispermum planted out in the field.
Some crinums did in fact survive out in the field. C. [bulbispermum X lugardiae] seems to be the hardiest of the bloom-size crinums. Some of the small seedling bulbs of this hybrid also survived. The large bulbs of this one are in bloom right now.
Bulbs of the small seedling size of the hybrid C. [variabile X bulbispermum] seem to have done fairly well. About 9 our of ca. 14 survived and look larger this season than last.
Somewhat surprisingly, a few small seedling bulbs of the hybrid C. [bulbispermum X graminicola] survived in the field (about 4 out of 12).
I have two accessions of Crinum lugardiae, one from Natal, South Africa, and the other from Namibia. The Natal form are larger and much more floriferous than the Namibian form. I planted three or four plants of each in the field last summer. None of the Natal form survived the winter, but two of the four Namibian form survived! The hardy hybrid [bulbispermum X lugardiae] are offspring of the Natal form, not of the Namibian form.
A few years ago, I tested seedling bulbs of the hybrid [[bulbispermum X macowanii] in the field. Out of ca. 20 planted, only three survived the winter. I dug those and pottend them up. the first of the three bloomed this season, and the flowers look like pure macowanii. Since the seed parent was bulbispermum, there is no chance that it was a macowanii selfed. I would really like to have a fully hardy hybrid that had macowanii type flowers.
I am always interested in hearing about others' expeerience with cold hardy Crinum and other South African bulbs. You can contact me at: [Respond or comment on this entry] by e-mail.