Any new hybrids that can handle our rainy season and survive? I'd love to try some but don't really see much in the way of success stories here....
I tried Red Hot Poker my first year of gardening. An utter and complete failure. Not sure if it was due to the plant or "user error" LOL!
Marginal success - I bought one early last summer at a local nursery. It bloomed really well this spring, now to see how it handles the rest of the summer. It made it through last august, hopefully it will not be a fluke. My understanding is that there are types native to summer rainfall areas and types native to winter rainfall areas. The latter is what is normally sold. And trouble is, they don't usually say which they are selling. I am hopeful that I have one of the types that prefer summer rain. We'll see - still too early to call it. Would love to hear if anyone else has had success.
I bought one last spring at a local nursery, kept it in the pot, where it bloomed beautifully. This spring, all I got was about 3 little 'blades/leaves', so NO - it didn't work for me, either. I wouldn't recommend it to Floridian gardeners. I grew them with great success back in Missouri, but Florida just doesn't have enough COLD hours for it to go dormant, as it is supposed to.
Note that I posted this question early in the summer.
I placed an order with a subsidiary of Park Seed called Wayside Gardens 6/21 for some Kniphofia Echo Rojo, never heard back from them so I supposed they would not send the plants to Florida realizing the climate was not optimal for success. PROBLEM - look what arrived today:
What the heck do I do now? At least we're headed into the cooler, drier season so they'll probably last at least ONE season :-) :-(
Plants I love that do not make it here as perrennial I just grow as an annual. I know my butterfly bushes never last past 3 years. i picked some up for 50 cents on the bargain table at Lowes,I don't mind them being temporary at the price. I love your kitchen especially the granite and i am usually not a granite lover.
Tom, with your expertise, I KNOW you can make them grow!!!
Those look like a gorgeous variety! I hope you can get them to grow. Here's the update on mine. Mine are on their 3rd season. But they are a difficult plant here. They start growing in October or so, and are lush and awesome in spring and early summer - bloomed very well this year. But they have a hard time with the hot+wet of late summer. I have been trying out different spots for them and have saved them each year by yanking them out of the ground when they start showing signs of rot & putting them in a pot that is still outdoors but does not get any rainfall. So what I have concluded is:
- They are suitable for pot culture, during the height of the rainy season, put them under a covered porch so they don't get rain, and water them only when bone dry.
- They hate hot, wet soil. Causes rot.
This year I tried putting them in a full sun location in well drained soil. That was not good enough. Still too wet. But I solved this problem for my lavender & rosemary who had the same problems by placing those plants in a mostly sunny area that is in an area of serious root competition from a big tree (maple in my case). That way the tree drinks all the water in summer & the soil stays pretty dry.
So I plan to replant my potted plants this fall in an area that gets morning sun & has lots of tree roots. I'm hoping that this will allow me to have a landscape plant that will persist without help for multiple years.
Let us know what approach you take Tom. I'd love to know if yours really do get 5-6' tall!
What about planting them in a mound of gravel/sand mixture that would promote fast draining. My grandmother grew the most beautiful ones here in PA. They were under the overhang of her garage and grew in rocky mix--gravel and larger rocks.
Tom, pray tell, what are those things growing in the glass jars on the counter near the window? looks something like avocado but not quite and my curiosity got the better of me...thanx, sally
I'm curious about the glass jar project, too!
I've heard of other gardeners coaxing along plants that do not like hot, humid, wet conditions by planting them in clay pots and limiting the amount of water. (Clay pots dry out more quickly than plastic containers or the ground.) For example, verbena do better when put in clay containers and kept as dry as possible. So yeah, I second that suggestion. And please report back! I'm eager to hear how they do. I think you will at least have a good winter/spring season with them.
Carol in Jacksonville
...I love your kitchen especially the granite and i am usually not a granite lover.
Thanks, we love it too, looked quite a while before settling on this one.
Oh, far from it, I've kiled more than fair share of things, barely keeping my Yacon alive right now, it's been a real bug-magnet here :-(
Those look like a gorgeous variety! I hope you can get them to grow. Here's the update on mine....
Thanks for the post; I really need help like yours since you've been able to keep them alive. Mine have already started yellowing; they had what appears to be wood lathe shavings packed at the top that I didn't get off the containers until yesterday so I didn't notice how moist it was keeping the mix :-( I immediately potted them into DRY mix in 6" clay pots since they came in 3" square pots. I sure hope I get them dried out before they rot. If they survive I will keep them in clay pots slightly bigger than the root zone, in a 4:2:1 mix and protect them from rain by keeping them under the soffit, either on the south side of the porch with filtered sun but fairly cool, or on the east side with direct morning sun (hot) and afternoon shade (cool). Thoughts?
...They were under the overhang of her garage and grew in rocky mix--gravel and larger rocks.
Like I said above, I'm going to try them in clay pots, hopefully to keep them dry and out of the rain. I have no experience with the cactus type mixes...only time will tell.
Tom, pray tell, what are those things growing in the glass jars on the counter near the window?
They are avocados, Brogdon seeds from Silvia. I hope to pot them up today. Here's the first five that I potted up a little over a month ago. The two in the jello cups front-left are not avocados, they are longan, another one that won't grow true....
The avocados look great! So healthy! I always wondered if sticking toothpicks into the seeds was harmful, but apparently NOT! :)
I hope that you are successful with your new plants.
I agree with Carol, those avocados look so nice and healthy!
About the yacon, I have it under an insect barrier cloth, it works on any new plant or seedlings that I am not sure about it, they are very strong type of plants. Sometimes I look under the leaves for possible bugs and nothing is there, it works great. In that area I also have the yellow sticky traps and catching a lot of bugs.
Putting your kniphofia into a faster draining mix sounds like a good start. I've had good luck with a lazy version of Al's gritty mix (equal parts turface, pea gravel and pine bark fines, skipped all the screening etc, just mixed together), works well for succulents. Haven't tried that with the kniphofia though, just used the sandy garden soil since I am trying to find an in ground spot, but I bet it would work well.
I think I'd put yours on the east side that gets some good heat to get them to dry out right away. Watch them close though, to see how much they dry out. If the soil goes to bone dry all the way through in less than a week, I'd move them to the more dappled light. I'd aim for finding a spot where you only need to give them some water at most every other week, even if they have to get a little less sun. Once the weather cools off and they start growing, they will be less finicky until it gets really hot again next June. I have only one spot that is protected from rain, and it gets morning sun, and full shade most of the day. My saved plants adapted pretty well to that spot, but they would really like more light. They were a bit leggy, at least didn't rot=)
Silvia - Thanks, we'll see.
The yacon was decimated with aphids, first I hit them with sevin, barely phased the little critters and I thought the plants were history so with nothing to lose I hit them with Neem and so far they are holding on...fingers crossed.
SW - thanks to you too. The knips were dry today from being on the east side so I gave them just a sip of water. I'll leave them there tomorrow during the day and then move them to the south side, fingers crossed.
This saga continues.
I noticed today that one of the three plants is retaining too much water in it's original soil, yellowing more than the others. If there's one thing I've learned about soil dynamics from hanging out over at the Container Forum it's that frequently potted plants suffer from yuck when they are just potted up in the original soil they are in since it's older, more compact and holds more water than the new potting mix surrounding it.... So, I took a chance and bare-rooted this plant and re-potted it completely in new, fresh slightly damp soil...I love my little 2' concrete mixing tub, I can take dry potting mix, lightly dampen it with water in the tub and use it for ANY new plants without worrying about the mix being so wet it's detrimental!
Now, if only this knip shows improvement over the others....
So how are they doing? Did giving one of them fresh soil help?
SW - Good question, I've read that Knips are finicky and won't bloom the year after divisions, and other than you it seems no one else has been able to keep them alive so I figured I had nothing to lose and wanted to see what would happen if I bare-rooted the one that was considerably wetter than the other two...given our humid unfriendly environment for this plant would it do better in fresh soil?
Since you're the Master and I'm Grasshopper pick out the bare-root and you tell me ;-)
Good challenge! They all look very nice and healthy. I would say the one in the middle looks a little more stressed, whereas the two on the ends look stronger. So since you treated two the same and one different, I will guess that the center is the bare-root. Am I right?
By they way, I have found them generous to flower, even after moving or dividing. If I can keep them alive until the cool part of the year, they flower easily in spring and repeat into early summer. The finicky bit is keeping them alive after they finish flowering when they seem to want to be dormant and dry.
As an update on mine, the one in ground is doing well. The two I had in pots may have expired. When I started seeing collapse, I bare rooted them and put them in the ground in the same spot as the one that is doing well. They now have zero leaves left, but I'm hoping that the small bits of tuber that were left will put out some roots and show growth in the spring. I do so love them, but they are challenging here!
I will guess that the center is the bare-root. Am I right?
Yup, the one in the middle is the bare-rooted plant....
I have no idea how dry to keep them in these clay pots. Should I treat them like a cactus? I'm concerned about over watering them but so far I'm not seeing any yellowing blades since I got them out of their original plastic containers and into this mix in the clay pots.
Thanks for you input, I'd really like these things to survive.
Fun - I guessed right!
I think you are doing great - all of them look healthy. I don't keep them quite as dry as cactus, but close during the most humid time of year. As the weather starts to cool and you see them starting active growth, then it is much safer to water them, and then they do need water when actively growing. Mine are starting to enter the active growing time again - just breaking dormancy.
Thought I'd share a couple pics. Here is mine blooming in the spring - looked great along with hippeastrums:
I thought that spot was going to work, but around late August it proved too wet. Here is this same plant, just after I moved it to a new spot. As you can see, it died back a lot.
This spot is hot & dry because it is next to the hot concrete driveway and in an area chock full of the roots of a laurel oak. Even asiatic jasmine stuggles to grow in this spot. So far, the kniphofia seems to like it there. This plant is starting to grow again, and the other two that had died to the ground seem to like this spot too, and are starting to form some tiny leaves. Really amazing how there is a plant for every location, just takes some sleuthing to figure out the right pairings.
Here's hoping you get a good spring display!
Well, it's been a year now and they are still alive :-) I've kept them in clay pots to keep them dry and potted up twice in only slightly bigger containers, in my version of Al's mix, 4:2:1. I have NO idea how to fertilize them so they've only occasionally received a little Sea Magic. They were inside my pool cage where they got morning sun and afternoon shade until the rainy season started, then I moved them to my potting shelf on the east side of the house, again, morning sun, afternoon shade - BUT, under the soffit where they get NO rain so I can keep them dry. They get water every 4-6 days depending on how much sun hits the clay pots ( vs. cloudy days).
I gave one to Silvia in the spring, I'll be curious to see what she's done with it since we all know about her nuclear green thumb ;-)
I shot these pictures today because one of them actually bloomed, not impressive to most of you but I'm happy considering the knowledge I've gained on how hard these babies are to keep happy here if Florida.
Tom, you are so funny! I didn't know that I was put to test and the plant Kniphofia is difficult to grow,lol.
I am still in Jamaica getting ready for the night but the last time that I checked the plant it was doing good planted in the ground close to the fence and around a very young fruit tree.
Yours is looking very nice! I hope mine bloom soon, at least I kept it alive, I will post a recent picture when I get home....
Happy 4 of July!
This is after you gave me in June
Looks good Silvia, please keep me posted on how it does in the ground during our rainy summer.
Enjoy d'island ;-)
Tom, Kniphofia is blooming at my house!
Cool Silvia, be careful though. From what others have posted the wet soil of the rainy season may cause the plants to diminish and not survive. Please keep me posted, I love this plant and want to make it work here. :-) :-(
Nice to see some success! Here is an updated photo of mine:
It bloomed about a month ago, doing great in the spot I relocated it to (very hot and dry). So far, it seems to be holding its own against the rain. But won't know for sure until August comes and goes. Fingers crossed!
SW - looks great! How much rain are you getting right now? We're getting rain at least 4-5 times weekly here and the ground soil is staying very wet. If I'd had any idea they could handle that much rain in the ground I would have put them there...I definitely don't have this plant down :-(
I'm sure it's too wet here now for me to have them in the ground, what you expect to experience in August.
Not sure why my flower is looking so odd but I think it is still beautiful.
What an unusual bloom! Looks almost like a foxtail lily bloom. Very cool! We are getting a lot of rain here too. Have a basil plant in a small pot that I haven't had to water by hand - so I suppose that averages out to rain at least every other day. Kniphofia are tricky in ground - I'd stick with the pot until a better time of year at least. I'll let you know if my in ground ones make it through the year. So far, all previous in ground attempts have resulted in the plants collapsing around august, and me having to yank them out of the ground and save them in a dry spot in a pot. This spot is looking good though. It is super hot in that area, and the oak tree roots take all the water, so it is nearly always dry. Asiatic jasmine even refused to grow in that corner it was so dry! But so far the kniphofia seem to like it. Fingers crossed! One more bloom opened today, be interesting to see if I get a full rebloom, or just one spurious late one.
...I'll let you know if my in ground ones make it through the year. So far, all previous in ground attempts have resulted in the plants collapsing around august....
Please do, I'd sure love to grow them in the ground but I'm not willing to dig them up every year to save them.
Lol - I'm not willing to dig them up again - this is the last spot I'm going to try, if they dont make it there it will be on to another plant=)
Well, I'm pleased to report that they made it through the summer without babying. I finally found a spot hot and dry enough. They did not show any rot this year, and did not diminish in size. And one is starting to send up a bloom spike. So the trick seems to be to find a spot that is in nearly full sun, and in the root competition zone of another plant. Mine are next to the concrete of the driveway, and in a spot with so many oak feeder roots that even asiatic jasmine wouldn't grow there because it was too dry. So it seems it is possible to grow them in ground, but no doubt it is a difficult plant in this zone. How'd yours do Tom?
The one I pictured above sent up three flower spikes but they were not much more than the first. This potted plant got the most sun, the other potted plant was at the far end of the bench where it is more shaded throughout the day, didn't flower. Now that we have moved into the dry season I've moved them from under the east-eve of the house to inside the pool cage where they still get morning sun and afternoon shade, but will benefit from occasional rain. I'll pot them up mid-February as that is when trees around here first start to bud. I would sure like to put them in the ground but my Zone 10 microclimate is so wet and humid in the summer I'm sure they wound not make it :-(
Sounds like a good plan Tom. Just keeping them alive through summer is an achievement! Mine didn't bloom very well until the second year. Maybe next year yours will put up bigger flower spikes. The little puff ball flower is cute, but doesn't look like what I would have expected. Hopefully the next blooms will be more robust.
SW - What about timing for potting up? If they are coming out of dormancy and the growing season starts in the fall as things cool down should I be potting them up now instead of waiting for our traditional warmer budding season here in the spring?
I think you are asking about up-sizing the pot they are in right? If so, I think that doing it now as they start active growth would work well. They actually seem really tolerant to being disturbed - I've moved mine when it is in bloom without any negative impact. So I don't think it would be an issue if you wanted to wait until spring either.