Experience with Acidanthera/Peacock Orchid/Gladiolus callianthus

pixie_louApril 28, 2011

In a rush at the store the other day, I bought a bag of Acidanthera bulbs. The package said to lift the bulbs in winter in planting zones 1 and 2. No worries - I'm in zone 5. However, they were referring to a bulb planting zone. I have never heard of bulb planting zones - apparently there are only 3 bulb planting zones, and I am in bulb planting zone 1.

So now, if I want to plant these bulbs, I will have to lift them in the Fall. To be honest, I'm just not a bulb lifting type of gal. I do grow gladiolas, but I keep them in pots, and just bring the pots into my basement or garage for the winter.

Has anyone had success growing Acidanthera in pots? Or should I just plant the bulbs in the garden, and count it as a loss when I forget to lift them in the Fall?

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I grew Acidanthera in a large container a few years ago. They're quite beautiful but I only bothered with them the one time. I lifted the bulbs and stored them in my attic over the winter but never found time to sow them again the following year. They're definitely tender in Z5 but if you can winter over glads in pots, you should be able to do the same with the peacock orchids.

    Bookmark   April 28, 2011 at 1:02PM
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Thanks for the post I see it is over a year old but mine finally bloomed this month.

Growing Hints: Plant in clusters of 5-7 for best show. In the spring, Corms should be planted three inches deep and six inches apart. This plant requires a long growing season (up to 20 weeks) and should be started indoors 1 month before the last frost in northern zones. Water regularly while in bloom and cover plants with mulch if frost arrives during flowering. In the fall, bulbs can be left in the ground to spread or lifted, cleaned and stored in sand at 60� F for winter (zones 6 and north should always lift bulbs). Corms need to be dried quickly to avoid soft rot. The small bulblets that form around the main corm can also be separated and replanted.

    Bookmark   January 12, 2013 at 10:23PM
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I grow them as annuals as I can't be bothered to lift them. One time as they were blooming, I spotted a guy with a camera laying on his stomache on my sidewalk photographing them! They are beautiful, but! If you plant them in a pot and then sink the pot into the garden, that might be one way to ease the "lifting" process.

I also read about spray painting (!) the seed heads of alliums after they have bloomed, so I did that with a neon blue paint. You simply hold a piece of newspaper around the flower (kind of like those funnel shaped things that dogs wear to keep them from licking wounds) and spray. One lady knocked on my door to find out where I had bought those blue star flowers! I guess they were stunners.

    Bookmark   January 24, 2013 at 6:39PM
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After 2 years I got a total of 1 bloom so the bulbs went in the compost pile last fall.

    Bookmark   January 25, 2013 at 7:33AM
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franeli(z4 NH)

I should grow these again! I always loved them; maybe because they bloomed in September with mums,sedum,asters and zinnias. I planted them in circles of 8...the foliage was always great as a grass type filler all summer.

    Bookmark   January 25, 2013 at 9:23AM
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