The Q&A Archives: Vallota (Scarborough Lily) Culture

Question: I have a peach vallota that makes oodles of offsets that disappear before they mature, so of course it never flowers. Could it be my hot/wet summers? I've been treating it like amaryllis, of which I have hundreds: keeping it pot-bound, outside all year, repotting/fertilizing after flowering. I have, however, brought the vallotta inside during frosts only because it's so special I m afraid to lose it. It's in a squatty clay pot, plunged about 1 inch into the ground to prevent salt build-up in the clay pot, and so that the worms can travel freely. <br><br><br>

Answer: One of the first things to know about vallota is that it won't tolerate root disturbance. If you have repotted it, that might in part explain the problem with the offsets. It shouldn't need repotting more than once every 4 or 5 years.<br><br>Though the books say vallota can take a light frost, I understand your hesitancy! I would treat it as a houseplant. It prefers relatively cool temperatures--during the winter, 50 to 60F at night and 68-70F during the day. You might plant the pot outdoors as you have been when temperatures are somewhere in that range, and bring it indoors when it is either hotter or colder. Keep the soil moist, never allowing it to dry out completely. The foliage naturally dies back, usually after bloom. When that happens, cutback on watering. New foliage should emerge in the spring. Fertilize monthly with an all-purpose houseplant fertilizer while the plant is actively growing; discontinue feeding in the fall/winter.<br><br>If you do get the offsets to take, note that they may take 3 years to flower.

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