Jim Shields' Garden Notes
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- Bloom Continues

What we have in bloom this week are Scadoxus multiflorus katherinae, a particularly beautiful form of the most common Scadoxus in cultivation; what some might call the most beautiful species of Hymenocallis, H. eucharidifolia; and a dwarf member of the South American Eucharis Lily group, Caliphruria korsakoffii.

Scadoxus multiflorus katherinae

This is a very attractive subspecies of Scadoxus multiflorus multiflorus, by far the most common Scadoxus in cultivation. I suspect S. multiflorus multiflorus may be mass produced in India, but S. m. katherinae is much harder to find. My plants were grown from a large batch of seeds I received many years ago from Bill Dijk in New Zealand. I only have a few plants left, but a couple of them are blooming this summer.

Scadoxus multiflorus katherinae (c) copyright 2012 by James E. Shields.  All rights reserved.
Scadoxus multiflorus katherinae

I think this species, or at least this subspecies, needs a large pot -- the two plants blooming just now are both in 2-gal. pots (22 cm diameter by 22 cm deep). I also suspect that they need to be given regular moisture in winter. Mine spend the winter in my cool South African winter-growing greenhouse, but sit under the bench. In summer they are moved out to the lath house, with the Hymenocallis eucharidifolia.

Hymenocallis eucharidifolia

This plant is a medium sized member of the Mexican group of the genus. It grows as an understory plant in the rain forest of southern Mexico, and was lost to botanists for many years until a plant explorer stumbled on it in its natural habitat a few years ago. It is surely one of the most beautiful flowers in the genus.

Hymenocallis eucharidifolia (c) copyright 2012 by James E. Shields.  All rights reserved.
Hymenocallis eucharidiflora

I grow it as a pot plant, outdoors in the lath house in summer, where it gets natural rainfall supplemented with twice weekly overhead misting. It winters in the warm greenhouse, kept dry while inside. This has not been a completely satisfactory way of growing it, and my stock has dwindled steadily down to just a couple bloom-size plants.

Caliphruria korsakoffii

This dwarf member of the South American Eucharis group does quite well in my big greenhouse with the Clivia plants. I think it is native to Peru. This pot is blooming quite abundantly this year, but I'm not sure every pot blooms every year. They are on drip irrigation with liquid feeding, and tend to be left drier but not bone dry in winter, with temperatures getting down in the 40s F (perhaps 4 to 10C) in that season.

Caliphruria korsakoffii (c) copyright 2012 by James E. Shields.  All rights reserved.
Caliphruria korsakoffii

This species seems to be very unusual in cultivation. It produces quite a few offsets over time, so it ought to be more widely available. It is nearly evergreen, so there is not an ideal time of year in which to ship it. And before you ask, we don't ship anything at all anymore unless someone offers me an absolutely irresistible trade. The picture shows the pot of Caliphruria sitting in the lath house. Proiphys amboinensis is sitting behind it and Scadoxus m. katherinae is sitting to the right of it.

Good gardening, from here in central Indiana

Jim
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Look up technical terms in the Glossary of Plant Biology

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Last revised on: 04 July 2012
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