Tropicals forum: Growing Watsonia in Zone 5B

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Name: David Laderoute
Zone 5B/6 - NW MO (Zone 5b)
Ignoring Zones altogether
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DavidLMO
Oct 14, 2015 8:31 PM CST
I went ahead and bought some Watsonia Aletroides

I bought them here - they have several types of Watsonia. I bought this one cause it stays on the smaller size and I need to plant them in pots for my zone.

https://www.easytogrowbulbs.com/c-115-watsonia.aspx

Here is my plan:

Pot up now - all 10 corms in one container water lightly
Hold in basement until ~ mid Jan '16 adding only a bit of water
Then put them under lights and water as needed
After May 1 or so - place on deck and water as needed

(The above is the process I used for 2 ornamental gingers last year.)

From then on, I will leave in pot and store in basement over winter - not digging up & storing

Your thoughts, opinions or comments? Other than I am freaking nuts? Rolling on the floor laughing I already know that.
Seeking Feng Shui with my plants since 1976
Name: Danita
GA (Zone 7b)
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Danita
Oct 15, 2015 6:10 AM CST
I believe that this species is a winter-growing, spring-blooming, summer-dormant species. It may be difficult to manage it successfully without a greenhouse. I'm interested to see if you can trick it into a delayed schedule. I hope you succeed! Green Grin!
Name: David Laderoute
Zone 5B/6 - NW MO (Zone 5b)
Ignoring Zones altogether
Seed Starter Avid Green Pages Reviewer Garden Ideas: Level 1
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DavidLMO
Oct 15, 2015 7:08 AM CST
Thanks Danita

I thought of another option I may try.

Plant half in the ground and lift and store over winter. Do the other half as indicated above.
Seeking Feng Shui with my plants since 1976
Name: Neal Linville
Winchester, KY (Zone 6a)
Charter ATP Member I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! Bulbs Cottage Gardener Roses Irises
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gemini_sage
Oct 15, 2015 8:22 AM CST
They mention them being perfect for Mediterranean climates. Those plants often present unique challenges to grow outside their zone. That is what has always stayed my hand from ordering any Watsonia, but the beautiful variety offered by Easy to Grow Bulbs sure is tempting!

The problem I run into with members of this family that bloom during cooler weather, is that our spring weather often turns hot before they can bloom. Then they just fry in the heat before blooming.

However there are some heirloom and species of Gladioli that offer a similar grace and effect in the garden, and some are hardy here.
"...and don't think the garden loses its ecstasy in winter. It's quiet, but the roots are down there riotous." Rumi
Name: David Laderoute
Zone 5B/6 - NW MO (Zone 5b)
Ignoring Zones altogether
Seed Starter Avid Green Pages Reviewer Garden Ideas: Level 1
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DavidLMO
Oct 15, 2015 11:34 AM CST
Neal and others.

I can likely get these outdoors about Mother's Day or earlier. Here we do not get real hot and humid til June. In my basement I have control of Temperature (+ or - ~ 5-10 degrees), humidity (range of 40 - 70 %) and light (on/off hours). Granted the light is not real sunshine. Smiling I have metal halide, & flour. with grow lights & natural light bulbs.

The half planted in the ground would not go in til early late April/May.

Those in a pot could be moved to garage if necessary.
Seeking Feng Shui with my plants since 1976
Pennsylvania (Zone 6b)
Garden Ideas: Level 1
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Cinta
Oct 15, 2015 7:12 PM CST
David I think it will work because of our cool Spring weather. Cool weather bloomers would be what would bloom well for me too. We do not see 80s until July. March April, May and June are anywhere from 50-70s. I assume your weather is the same.

I have purchased hardy Spring bulbs stored them over the winter in the garage and plant them in the gardens in April or May and they come up and bloom about 4 weeks after planting. I have a second Spring blooming season by delaying planting because we have such a cool Spring.
Name: David Laderoute
Zone 5B/6 - NW MO (Zone 5b)
Ignoring Zones altogether
Seed Starter Avid Green Pages Reviewer Garden Ideas: Level 1
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DavidLMO
Oct 15, 2015 7:21 PM CST
@Cinta - the weather you describe is pretty much mine as well. Occasionally we can have some very warm weather in June.
Not usually. Our March weather is usually horribly cold. Crying Last frost date is ~ April 20 though 2 years ago we have temp in low 30s and a foot of snow 2 days after Mother's day.

My rule of thumb is do nothing until after MD.

The bulbs I bought were not too expensive. Heck people spend big $$$ on Annuals. nodding

If I can get this to work, I will get some of the far prettier Watsonia. They will need staking though.
Seeking Feng Shui with my plants since 1976
Pennsylvania (Zone 6b)
Garden Ideas: Level 1
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Cinta
Oct 15, 2015 8:00 PM CST
Yep that is why I think it will work. It takes so long to get real heat in my state is the reason I try to keep Elephant Ears and every other tropical half alive so they get off to a fast start. I want things big by June. Big Grin
Name: David Laderoute
Zone 5B/6 - NW MO (Zone 5b)
Ignoring Zones altogether
Seed Starter Avid Green Pages Reviewer Garden Ideas: Level 1
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DavidLMO
Oct 15, 2015 8:14 PM CST
@Cinta - you keep EE in pots over winter?

I started 2 ornamental ginger in my basement last December and they were both ~ 15 inches by Mother's day when I took them out and put them in my pretend greenhouse. One has been budding for the past 2 + weeks - but still not showing color.

That encourages me which leads me to believe the Watsonia treatment outlined above will work. If it doesn't, I am out $ 8 - less than the cost of 2 "annual" Angelonia (which I cut back and potted up on Tuesday). I may keep some in the garage and some in the basement.
Seeking Feng Shui with my plants since 1976
Pennsylvania (Zone 6b)
Garden Ideas: Level 1
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Cinta
Oct 15, 2015 8:28 PM CST
Yep all my tropicals are kept half alive in my laundry room. I call it my Tacky Tikki Room. I have everything set up in the back that is 15 x 20.
Name: David Laderoute
Zone 5B/6 - NW MO (Zone 5b)
Ignoring Zones altogether
Seed Starter Avid Green Pages Reviewer Garden Ideas: Level 1
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DavidLMO
Oct 15, 2015 8:45 PM CST
Cinta said:Yep all my tropicals are kept half alive in my laundry room. I call it my Tacky Tikki Room. I have everything set up in the back that is 15 x 20.


Haha - would love to see your Tacky Tikki room. nodding My whole freaking house will be a jungle in another 2 weeks.

Seeking Feng Shui with my plants since 1976
Name: David Laderoute
Zone 5B/6 - NW MO (Zone 5b)
Ignoring Zones altogether
Seed Starter Avid Green Pages Reviewer Garden Ideas: Level 1
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DavidLMO
Jan 1, 2016 4:55 PM CST
Pleasant;y surprised today!! My Watsonia bulbs are sprouting.

I potted all 10 of them up on November 25, 2015 and did not water them. My intentions was to water them and take them to my basement grow area ~ Jan. 30 or so.

Wife sent me to the unheated garage (which has stayed above 50) for some canning jars. Glanced at Watsonia (as I do everything in the garage when I go out) and ~ 50 % were 1 -2 " high.

I love nature.

So I watered them and took them to the basement and put em under lights.
Seeking Feng Shui with my plants since 1976

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