santini hardy to zone 5????

chazparas(USDA zone 9 , San Jose, CA)February 8, 2008

Hi all,

Got a brecks catalog today. I ordered from them years ago and received a beautiful calla collection so I haven't had a bad experience with the company, but they eventually went bankrupt and have been taken over by a new owner. BUT, could this be too good to be true, hardy amaryllis to zone 5???

They're called santini hybrids. Has anyone grown them?

I googled and haven't found anyone with personal experience.

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wildebloem(8 - Oregon)

I received the same catalog just today and tripped over the same plant! I found them on the web under Sonatini - see the link below. The web site is in Dutch, I will be happy to translate if anyone wants to know something in particular. They show a dozen different varieties.

I also found several other sites (in English) that state that the bulbs need winter protection in severe weather (I have not found specific temperature requirements, however) and that they need well-drained soil. Thompson and Morgan states theirs are 16" tall, flower May-June, and sell for 10 pounds each. (They also claim, "It's so new and exclusive, you won't find Sonatini anywhere else for the next two years.":))

By the way, some of these flowers look extremely familiar. The name Sonatini also rings a bell, but I cannot remember where I first heard it ring.

Here is a link that might be useful: Sonatini collectie 2008

    Bookmark   February 8, 2008 at 9:39PM
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I think sonatini is a term used by hadeco bulbs to reference size. I was unable to find the brecks special online but the computer seems to be acting up.

    Bookmark   February 8, 2008 at 10:18PM
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chazparas(USDA zone 9 , San Jose, CA)

Wildebloem, my spelling error it is sonatini that Brecks if offering. I have friends who have the family name of Santini, that was on my mind while writing.
It says these bulbs have to be planted very deep.

    Bookmark   February 8, 2008 at 10:33PM
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cindeea(FtMyers 10)

WOW more stuff to drool over. I love that collection! I am currently planning to re-do the side raised bed that was my original bulb/amaryllis bed. It got so neglected cause it is hard for me to get to. I want to add a gazillion bulbs, amaryllis, crotons (maybe) and bromeliads and fill it all in under the shrubs I have there. I have been teasing myself tonight looking for something different that can tolerate drought. WOW, again, I am feeling so good and to think I am planning to go out and trim, water and fert all that grows there-tomorrow! WOW I am feeling good! Today I found some Nerines at HD for $5. I saw Dablo or someone else post theirs last fall and they are so pretty. Well the 2 I bought each had 3-4 bulblets each and I put them in a planter by my potting bench with my Aztek Gold plumeria. I might get some more for the bed. Anyone not doing anything tomorrow, fly in!! I am real close to the Airport and you can help me plant, trim, weed and mulch this bed. Hey...I'll even let you try out my new Scoot!!

Why am I so ambitious at this time of night???

    Bookmark   February 8, 2008 at 10:51PM
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I believe Sonatini sounds familiar because it's a Hadeco name... they list Symphony, Sonata, and Sonatini as their different sizing/groups classifications for the Hadeco varieties.

I have the same catalogs... Breck's, Spring Hill and somebody else are all offering the "Sonatini Hardy Amaryllis" for this spring...

I doubt that the hardiness is truly to zone 5... I would be shocked if it were true! I notice several things some of these companies sell are listed incorrectly when it comes to hardiness zones. I've tried to grow Crocosmia for the last 3 years here, and it dies over winter, even protected with mulch. Bumping the hardiness zone seems to be common practice for some companies, and is quite a sales ploy... I think they hope that most won't complain about it, thinking it was something they did that killed the plants, when in truth, these varieties are just not hardy this far north.

I do want to check it out, though, and was thinking of ordering some just to get the colors they have listed as possibilities... I thought I'd plant them in the garden, and then dig most of them in fall for safe-keeping, leaving one or two just to test their hardiness.

With all the different colors and color blends, it almost appears as though some growers got colors and blends that Hadeco hasn't registered with names... and are quickly capitalizing on the Sonatini name...

Very interesting turn of events...

Here is a link that might be useful: Hadeco

    Bookmark   February 9, 2008 at 8:14AM
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chazparas(USDA zone 9 , San Jose, CA)

Jodi, how wonderful would it be if they were hardy!! I've done the same with Crocosmia and lose them everytime.
I was just dreaming about the hipps, but with the bulb fly in this area I couldn't chance planting them. As it is I've got to build somekind of screen protection this year if I want to put my babies out.

    Bookmark   February 9, 2008 at 8:29AM
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We can always dream, Chaz... but I think it'll be some time before a truly hardy amaryllis is developed for our northern climate... all we have thus far is the naked ladies, which are actually Lycoris, as you know...

I've gotta say, though... companies like Wayside, Breck's, Spring Hill... they go all out in printing a catalog that really catches your eye and makes you drool! This year's introductions are brighter than ever! There are so many I want! And they know everyone will want this stuff, and they can clean up financially!

As far as your bulbs go, and the fear of narcissus fly... I think you may be able to get away with a good systemic applied to the soil... I used one last year to combat throngs of aphids on our Fuji apple tree and the roses... they were covered in the little suckers! I used a granular systemic insecticide plus fertilizer, and it worked like a charm! I can't remember whether it was Ortho, Schultz or MiracleGro... but it was labeled for roses and ornamentals, and it worked really well.

This spring, I plan on sprinkling the systemic liberally over all garden areas and beds... I don't want a repeat of last year's aphids, or any other little pests!

And speaking of hardiness zones... Crocosmia is available in new varieties that I'd love to grow... but they'd have to be dug or they'll die. Breck's also says that Agapanthus will grow to zone 5, but I know that's not true... zones 7-9 or 7-10 are all I've ever seen listed for that plant... I'd love to grow that, too, but it must be in containers!

Maybe I'll do that... plant some containers with Crocosmia, Agapanthus, Canna, Dwarf Glads... and anything else I want that's not hardy here... and then simply bring in the containers before it gets too cold... that would be a lot easier than digging up everything all the time! I used to have a gardening rule, that anything requiring fall digging did not get considered when planning what to plant.

I just wonder how these companies get away with the false advertising?!

    Bookmark   February 9, 2008 at 10:09AM
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chazparas(USDA zone 9 , San Jose, CA)

Jodi, I had an agapanthus that came back in NJ zone 6b. Never as full as the first year I planted it but it did survive and flower. I was also able to grow needle palms there, and poncirus - hardy bitter orange. I always push limits, if it needs to be dug in the fall I don't plant it unless I'm willing to lose it. Just too much work and not enough time or storage space. I do have an agapanthus that I bring in now, a flowering maple, some cuttings of brugmansias, and a two potted fig trees. House plants come back in if there is room if not, they go to friends.
Last year an elephant ear actually survived the winter against a northern wall, it was under some fall leaves that I didn't rake. It came back smaller but did come back, very surprised. Sometimes a canna might make it against a southern facing wall, even had dahlias once or twice. Just depends on the amount of snow we get here for insulation, and if the snows start before the ground is completely frozen. Our freeze line is almost 2 feet down according to building standards! I'll keep trying because I'm trying to be as maintx free in the garden as I can, if it doesn't survive my winter, it's an annual.

Liza, I love living here but would love a zone 8a garden!!! Not to hot, not to cold, and a heck of a lot cheaper to heat a greenhouse!!!
Hope your feeling better everyday!

    Bookmark   February 9, 2008 at 10:26AM
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I hear ya, Chaz! This is why I'm getting roses that are either Bucks, Sub-Zeros, or listed as hardy to zones 3, 4 or 5, and grown on their own rootstock... I don't want to re-apply mulch every fall and I'm not having rose cones everywhere! I don't want to go through too much work putting the gardens to bed every fall...

I don't have the time or energy to dig up half the garden when frost is imminent, either... so anything tender is either treated as an annual or grown in easy-to-move containers!

One good thing I do is leave the raking until spring... I've always felt lazy letting the fallen leaves swirl around the gardens and bunch up where ever they land, but it actually helps insulate the soil and roots over winter. I let Nature mulch my beds! LOL!

Maintenance-free is my gardening method, and anything that makes too much work out there for me isn't going to be a part of the garden! It can be a little expensive trying out things that you're not sure about zone-wise, but it's also a good learning experience, and one season's worth of enjoyment is good enough for some things.

I suppose that no matter what zone you live in, there are things that you must sacrifice... I think I'd be happy in about a zone 7 garden... lots of choices, and still cold enough to give some plants the dormancy they need.

    Bookmark   February 9, 2008 at 10:52AM
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chazparas(USDA zone 9 , San Jose, CA)

Jodi, I planted sub zero Margaret Chase Smith roses a few years ago, they come back reliably and have a stunning red bloom, almost glowing. They are covered with thorns though!!! I've also been lucky with 2 own root climbers, zepherine drouhin and sombruel (Spelling?) both from J&P, they do well on the north side of the carriage house on the gothic arches, flower each spring and I haven't protected them yet.
Here's Margaret Chase Smith, not the best photo but pretty true color.

I said, the elephant ear that came back was under leaves that I didn't rake, as if I rake...LOL, that's Chase's job! LOL, however he bought me a fantastic shredder/chipper for christmas so I'll be making plenty of mulch this spring. I don't cut perennials down or do clean up until spring so they gather leaves around the base without mulching in the fall. Works for me but doesn't look to great until spring cleanup.
I've put in a thyme lawn area so I don't have to mow and eventually the lower garden will be shaded and done with ground covers and gravel paths. Long term planning for low mx gardening! The older I get the less I want to haul heavy stuff around the garden. About 6 years ago we had such a mild winter in NJ that wax begonias that were under unraked oak leaves came back from the roots! Saved a bit on annuals that year.

    Bookmark   February 9, 2008 at 12:09PM
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wildebloem(8 - Oregon)

Salpal and Jodi, thank you, yes, Sonata and Sonatini are terms used by Hadeco.

Jodi, re. blends, I had the same thought: companies are bound to have a load of extras, not necessarily worthy of introducing singly, but nice enough. And there may be the odd one or two that is hardier than most. I find an enormous amount of differences between individual bulbs given the same culture. Just yesterday, I lost another of my "Double Record" bulbs - they are probably the crankiest old things I have grown.

I did hear H. johnsonii is very hardy, but I have only a tiny bulb, so I am not chancing it outdoor over winter yet. One listed as "Ackermanii" (I have something named acramannii, which I believe may be the same), supposedly one of johnsonii's hybrids, is listed as hardy to 7, possibly colder.

Re. Crocosmia: have you tried the different types? Masonorum, "Lucifer"? I have found them to be very hardy here in our colder winters (into the teens, but never for more than a week or so, which may make the difference). As for Agapanthus: the deciduous types ("Headbourne" hybrids among them) are extremely hardy here. I have several of the evergreens that do well to around 20F as well, but they do suffer considerable setbacks. One bulb that really surprised me this year is Polianthes "The Pearl". I accidentally left out a large (11.5") pot of them - they froze into the upper teens and sat there looking miserable until this week. When I went to dump the pot, I found they had all survived. Now if I could only get them to bloom consistently...

    Bookmark   February 9, 2008 at 1:41PM
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chazparas(USDA zone 9 , San Jose, CA)

Wildebloem, I just saw Crocosima Moasonorum offered this year, they say it's hardy to zone 5 here, that's a bit colder than me. I may try it but they want 14.95 US dollars for one corm.

Polianthes only blooms from the new growth from what I understand, any old growth should be removed to allow the new tubers to mature and flower.

    Bookmark   February 9, 2008 at 4:55PM
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Chaz - That's a beautiful rose! Lovely color! I bet it really stands out in the garden! Every rose we're ordering this spring is own-root... I know of the roses you mentioned... I've been studying roses for a few years now, and finally this year, we're actually ordering! We'll be getting some climbers - Don Juan, Joseph's Coat, New Dawn and Portlandia... minis - Incognito, Cafe Ole and Pinstripe... Hardy Bucks - Wild Ginger and Silver Shadows... Tea Roses - Double Delight and Fragrant Cloud. All were chosen based on hardiness, fragrance, continual bloom and color. That should be a good enough start... those will be the backbones of the garden, along with a few other shrubs that we put in last year, such as lilacs and hydrangeas... next year we'll order a few more roses, if these do well.

You are so lucky! What I wouldn't give for a chipper/shredder! I could really make good use of all the garden and yard waste with one of those! It's on my list of "things I want for the garden", but finding a decent one that's not too costly could be tough! Low maintenance is the ultimate goal, especially since I'm getting older!

Wildebloem - I'm zone 5b, and I've tried Crocosmia 3 years in a row in different spots, and every year they die! It's just too cold for too long here... when I choose plants, I try to get ones that are rated for zones 3 or 4 so they really thrive, but I also buy zone 5 plants... this year, I'm going to try Crocosmia again, but it will be planted in a container that I can bring in and keep in the garage or basement over winter. There are a few things I want to try that will go in pots to be brought in, like Agapanthus and Crocosmia... or will be dug up, like Canna and just a few Glads...

Companies like Hadeco must have a lot of extras that don't make the cut... what would they do with all those bulbs? They might sell some of those to growers as a "garden variety" or mix... I don't know for sure, but it does make sense.

I, myself, have one little xJohnsonii bulb that I'm not willing to garden test for hardiness! I'm growing that one indoors! I have heard, though, that some heirloom varieties are hardier than others... but zone 7 is the farthest north I've heard of them growing and surviving.

I do want to get a few of those "garden hardy" bulbs offered by either Breck's or Wayside or Spring Hill... just to have those awesome colors! I will grow them indoors, though!

    Bookmark   February 10, 2008 at 7:05AM
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wildebloem(8 - Oregon)

Chaz, I did not know Polianthes blooms from new growth. Each year, newly purchased bulbs will throw maybe a flower per pot, then absolutely fill the pots with endless new growth in one season and refuse to do anything except sit there looking leafy. A gardener friend has had the same experience. I will definitely try to take out the old growth and see what happens.

    Bookmark   February 10, 2008 at 1:08PM
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I just emailed Mr.CB (Hadeco) about this. If we get lucky that he checks his email we would have some info about this. Unfortunately he might be in another country right now visiting Hadeco retailers. I'll update you all as soon as he answers back. For me, hardy or not, I LOVE the Sonatinis.

    Bookmark   February 10, 2008 at 11:39PM
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I do, too, Maria... and even though I would definitely dig them up or pot them, I do want to get some of those "garden mix" bulbs just for the colors I could be surprised with! The catalog photos are very beautiful!

I'm very interested to hear what Hadeco has to say about their Sonatinis being sold by Breck's and Spring Hill as a hardy garden bulb... I do hope he checks his email while on the road... I'm sure he must have a laptop... most business people and students do!

At first, the name "Polianthes" didn't click with me... but of course, it's Tuberose! Doh! Supposedly extremely fragrant... but they just don't thrill me in looks. I don't think they're rated for my zone, anyway...

    Bookmark   February 11, 2008 at 10:14AM
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wildebloem(8 - Oregon)

Tuberose, yes, that is the plant. The fragrance really is something, but I have the worst time trying to get it to rebloom.

Sonatinis: there are some wonderful colors in the pictures, but there are some pretty dull ones (if an amaryllis can ever be really called dull, that is) as well. Breck's is selling them at 5/$39.99, still $8.00 for each bulb that could be anything. I do not mind paying that for a blooming unidentified bulb, when I can see what I am buying, but that is too high for a an "unseen".

    Bookmark   February 11, 2008 at 10:52AM
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I guess it's our lucky day! Mr. CB just replied to my mail, as always so very willing to help and give us infos. Here is what he wrote:

"The Veneto is a very old variety that we created, and then stopped producing years ago. We stopped the registration on it once we developed better Sonatini's. Swan Lake is Dutch- bred, and assumedly so are the others. We have not grown these specific varieties, but they are of similar origin to Sonatini's, and hence I would expect that they require similar conditions. As with any other Hippeastrum, Sonatini's do not thrive colder than 48F. Lower temperatures - even in dormancy - are likely to harm the bulb."

So...Are these "hardy sonatinis/amaryllis" really hardy to zone 5? NO
Are these sonatinis Hadeco hybrids? ONLY Veneto.

Hope this clarifies things.

    Bookmark   February 11, 2008 at 5:09PM
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chazparas(USDA zone 9 , San Jose, CA)

Maria, you have saved more than a few of us money I'm sure. Thank you for making that inquiry.

    Bookmark   February 11, 2008 at 9:01PM
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wildebloem(8 - Oregon)

It would be nice to ask Breck's to document their claim, but that is difficult to do without being able to provide documentation that these are not hardy.

    Bookmark   February 11, 2008 at 9:02PM
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Noni Morrison

Unfortunately, this is exactly the kind of thing I expected from these particular catalogs. These are not run by garden experts in my opinion but by advertisers. They get some 2nd rate bulbs or occassonally maybe some good ones that the grower has too many off, and then sell them over priced with a lot of superfluous advertising. IN many cases the name of the company, Like Brecks, was well respected in its early years but the business has changed to just a mass marketing business.

I have learned in buying for my business garden, that a bargain plant is no bargain unless it is as big and full and fresh and well handled as the best of them...and gotten out to me well packed and fresh and not frozen.

Some times the puny little thing will live and after nursing it for 3 years might look as good almost as a fresh one from a local grower! All too often the bulbs arrive dried up and half or all the way dead. Had these bulbs been what they sounded like, I suspect the really good catalogs would have been shouting about them.

I know that you can get some ok bulbs from these places, and particularly they may work better for you on the East Coast. But if it sounds too good to be true it probably is!

Now, IF anyone tries these and likes them let us know, LOL.I would love it if they were really true!

Chaz, Glad your callas turned out lucked out, man!

    Bookmark   February 11, 2008 at 11:15PM
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chazparas(USDA zone 9 , San Jose, CA)

Liza, the callas were from the original brecks. I was very lucky with them, they flowered multiple stems over the season. I pulled them up the first year to overwinter dormant, second season was not such a great show but I expected that, left'm in the ground after that and they died over winter, expected that too.

    Bookmark   February 12, 2008 at 8:02AM
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Thank you, Maria... at least now we're not all wondering, even though we all pretty much knew that they weren't really hardy to zone 5, and that they aren't really something from Hadeco. Still, it's nice to get factual information straight from the horses mouth, as it were!

Once the original copyright or registration runs out on a product, it's ownership and name are up for grabs. I wonder how long the growers that grabbed these were waiting around, drooling for the original patent to expire?

Many, many years ago I bought a bunch of bulbs from Breck's... I knew they wouldn't be top-sized bulbs, but I didn't mind waiting a couple of years for them to grow. I must say... I did get my money's worth... they were all beautiful flowers, and by the second year they were in, they really put on a nice show! However... this was years and years ago, when Breck's was more reputable and owned by someone else... I would not place an order with them now and expect their ads to be true... any company that spends that much in advertising and has that glossy and pretty of a catalog isn't putting their profits back into the company or the products they sell.

As my experience and learned knowledge of gardening and plants has grown over the years, I know what zones most perennials and bulbs and plants are normally rated for... so, when I pick up a catalog and see a plant listed for a zone I know is not probable, I take it with a grain of salt and note which company the catalog is from...

Bumping zones of plants in catalogs has been a sales ploy for a long time... once you have a general understanding of perennial gardening, and you begin to do some cultural reading on the subject, you begin to remember which plants are rated for what zones...

The bottom line is... this kind of thing is exactly what you'd expect from a company such as Breck's... and all the other companies of the same caliber will very quickly jump on the bandwagon and offer the same thing, claiming that it will survive in a zone 5 garden... we all know it won't. I suspect most of us knew that already...

    Bookmark   February 12, 2008 at 9:55AM
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Noni Morrison

Ah, but it was a lovely dream, wasn't it! COuldn't you just see that bed packed full of different colored stars! OH well, dreams are good....and now I Know I better not put my bloomed out ami's into my unheated plastic greenhouse yet. I think i Can keep them from freezing but probably not above 48 degrees for another month or two. Hmmm, Maybe the floor in my sons room after he leaves on Thur! Yup, I can just haul them in in a wagon and park it in front of his window! Hee hee!"Can I Help you out the door there son?"

    Bookmark   February 12, 2008 at 4:32PM
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I still think I might buy a few just to have a nice patio pot filled with different colored blooms! I can bring it in when autumn rolls around.

You're lucky to have extra window space to play with, Lizalily... I'm out of window space already!

    Bookmark   February 13, 2008 at 10:31AM
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