Boophane ....cultural/growing suggestions

bronxfigsFebruary 21, 2012

Just posted some questions on an old thread: A couple of JUMBO Amaryllids for the winter".

I'm basically looking for cultural guidelines for growing this bulb in a large container.

I need:

Growing medium ingredients.

Watering requirements.

Fertilizer suggestions...would "Foliage-Pro 9-6-3" work?

Dormancy,...what temps. and, how long?

Full-sun, heat, etc?

Also, should I grow this with the bulb under the medium to increase the size of the bulb? how big will this bulb get?

Thanks for the help.

Frank

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joshy46013

Frank,

I think it would be most beneficial to good this plant and read about it, there are many articles and write ups. This is the best way to get as much good information about a plant as you can. This is a very specialized plant that very few grow, you may not get any/a lot of feedback.

I grow this plant and I can give you some pointers tomorrow.

I'm posting a link to give you some more info. Some plants are summer dormant and some are winter dormant, I would not advise to plant the entire bulb under the medium, this is not how they're found in nature.

Here is a link that might be useful: Boophane disticha

    Bookmark   February 21, 2012 at 11:55PM
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bronxfigs

Josh...
Most of the sites are about how this bulb grows in nature. I was hoping for growing suggestions in containers...two different situations.
Thanks for the link, and I'm going to do some more searching for additional information. I think I will have to get the Boophane that is dormant in our Winters...so I don't know which is which...B. disticha...or B. haemanthoides. I like the latter with the undulating leaves.

So, I should keep the bulbs high, and not bury them. Thanks.

I do some more looking for cultural notes.

Frank

    Bookmark   February 22, 2012 at 6:20PM
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johnsonm08(5a)

Hi Frank,
I have mine planted about 75% above the soil. I used granite chips, not Turface(which actualy holds a lot of water). I believe that if you get one that has been grown from seed here in the Northern hemisphere it should be on our Summer/Winter dormancy schedule -- imports from South Africa would be reversed --I also read somewhere that with proper conditions it might remain evergreen, but that hasn't been my experiance. I'm not sure the species matters. Hope this helps a little.
Mike

    Bookmark   February 22, 2012 at 9:28PM
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bronxfigs

Mike....
Your posting has helped a lot. The Northern-Southern hemisphere "thing" always gives me pause. All my plants MUST grow on the same schedule, or, I'm screwed.

My best guess is that I could try to grow these bulbs like a Hippeastrum, in a quick-draining mix, maybe some organic fertilizers mixed into the medium, cool, dry winters, and hot, full-sun/some shade in the warmer months...exposed bulb above the medium. Then take my cues from the plant re: onset of dormancy.

So, I'll try. I've got nothing to lose.

Frank

    Bookmark   February 23, 2012 at 6:39AM
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joshy46013

Frank,

How these plants grow in nature is a huge clue about how to grow them in cultivation. Many of these species plants do not tolerate much other than their natural conditions which need to be replicated as much as possible to grow successfully, this is a big reason these are rare in cultivation. While this genus isn't difficult to grow you must obey their dormancy schedule which is fully dependent on the location the plant was founded in nature. Your plant will tell you when it wants to sleep and when it does stop watering completely.

Some Boophone species/specimens grow in desert areas with a winter dormancy but depending on which plant you get they may be summer dormant in the Southern Hemisphere and would require a summer dormancy here as well. Long days and warmer temps will cause the plant to begin dormancy.

If you give Boophone species too much organic fertilizer or organics in the medium they will rot at a very fast rate. They also need very large containers considering they have a very long, perennial root run.

Boophone haemanthoides is a species primarily from winter rainfall regions so will require a summer dormancy irregardless of the hemisphere. Some specimens of Boophone disticha has undulate leaves, on the link I posted above there is a picture of a plant in nature towards the bottom.

Overall, this is a very beautiful and rewarding plant that can be easily grow, the scapes house around 100 flowers that are scented and the leaves are beautiful too.

    Bookmark   February 23, 2012 at 10:22AM
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bronxfigs

Josh....

Thanks for additional cultural material.

I clearly did not consider that the dormancy periods of these bulbs may not coincide with our seasons. I was going to purchase these bulbs from a US supplier, and I thought that the plants would be seed grown. I also assumed that the dormancy period would be in sync because they were not collected plants.

Also, all the photos of the Boophane bulbs on the succulent/cactus forum, show them being grown in small pots, with only the roots buried, and with most of the bulb planted above the soil-line...like a Hipp. bulbs. So, that's how I thought they would be grown. Now, I know the rest of the story.

I must now consider very carefully, which species to grow, but more importantly, could I give them the conditions that they need to survive.

Once again, I'm happy for the information, and happier that I asked the right questions.

Frank

    Bookmark   February 24, 2012 at 7:05AM
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joshy46013

Frank,

You can easily give them the right conditions, I promise they're not hard to grow.

Just ask the nursery if the plants are dormant in winter when you purchase them, they'll probably assume you're an idiot if they don't grow many South African bulbs.

Also, I don't know what you're planning to buy but these bulbs can take 10 years to bloom from seed which is a long time. The leaves add a lot of characteristic tho but I would buy a larger bulb.

PLEASE try this plant, it's amazing and the leaves are so beautiful.

    Bookmark   February 24, 2012 at 9:37AM
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bronxfigs

Josh...
Sorry I took so long to reply.

I plan on purchasing from "Sacred Succulents", in CA. They list both species. I was thinking of B. haemanthoides because of the wavy leaves. The flowers have little appeal to me, so this isn't a deciding factor. It's the fat, large barky bulb, and the perfect rack of leaves that makes this plant catch my eye. The whole plant in full leaf, looks fake!

I will try it. Thanks for the inside "scoop" on Boophane.

Frank

    Bookmark   February 26, 2012 at 4:40PM
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joshy46013

Frank,

Unless you can grow during winter successfully I would choose B. disticha, haemanthoides is only a winter growing species irregardless of the hemisphere and will become dormant with warmer and longer days as it's found in parts of South Africa that have very hot and dry summers.

You may think the flowers are a non factor until you see them in person, they're incredibly showy and very fragrant.

    Bookmark   February 26, 2012 at 8:15PM
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joshy46013

Frank,

I forgot to mention, both species have undulate leaves, some clones just more than others. I'm posting a picture below of a wavy form of B. disticha.

Here is a link that might be useful:

    Bookmark   February 26, 2012 at 8:23PM
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bronxfigs

Josh...

Thanks for the link, and for the wintering-warning about the Boophane haemanthoides...although, it's still the leaves that attracted me.

I just saw the photos of the undulating leaves coming out of those bulbs. Being Italian, the leaves reminded me of green, Lasagna noodles...or Elsa Lanchester's hair in the "Bride of Frankenstein" : )

Listen, you, and Mike have really have been a very big help.

Now, I will buy me a nice bulb.

Frank

    Bookmark   February 27, 2012 at 3:15PM
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bluebonsai101(6a PA)

Hey Frank, hope you got a nice one for the collection!! I also hope you liked the pics of my plants that you originally posted under......like Josh said, B. haemanthoides is really only a winter grower, although here in the Pittsburgh area mine go dormant about now and then start growing again at the end of July/ first of Aug which means they leaf out in full sun for me outside which is a great advantage.

B. disticha is all over the place in terms of when they grow.....perhaps my favorite in this species is the one called 'Port Elizabeth' of which I have 7 of them. This one is a winter grower and the mature bulb is only 6 inches tall or so and maybe 3 inches in diameter but has the most amazing frilly leaves on top of the bulb....perfect for under a grow light. By the way, you absolutely need a strong grow light for these....a window results in etiolated leaves (experience speaking here). I grow mine here in PA in 40% volcanic cinder, 40% perlite and 20% potting soil and they do quite nicely, although blooms are a rarity for me with my conditions.

I plant mine completely above the soil as I think the bulb and leaves are the main attraction as you say....the flower is OK, but not the reason for growing them....at least once you've seen it a few times.

They are easy to grow though as others have said so you should do well if you can give it tons of light and keep watering under control :o) Dan

    Bookmark   March 5, 2012 at 6:47PM
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joshy46013

Dan,

YOU'RE BACK!!!!!!!

I'm sure your expertise is very much appreciated, you're definitely a Boophane connoisseur!

    Bookmark   March 6, 2012 at 10:17AM
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bluebonsai101(6a PA)

Hi Josh, Yeah, long winter of writing grants and giving talks at various meetings on my science nonsense and just overall way too busy. About all I have done is water plants. I did just have a Haemanthus nortieri bloom in my basement if you can believe that! I will try to post pics to a new thread once I have a chance to get them off the camera and make sure they are not a catastrophe :o) Dan

    Bookmark   March 7, 2012 at 8:19PM
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