Calochortus in cultivation

Submitted by Kelaidis on Thu, 02/18/2010 - 05:52

Calochortus are usually grown in containers in Britain, say, or occasionally in a corner of a "xeriscape" in drier climates (there are some high mountain species I suspect would do just fine in a sunny rock garden anywhere, but they are the exception...).

My garden is over a half acre: too big to try and irrigate in our semiarid climate. So half the garden grows largely on what does (or doesn't) fall from the sky. I have a small meadow planted mostly to blue gramma grass (Bouteloua gracilis), the shortgrass that probably would have been on my garden prior to disturbance. Five or six years ago I purchased several hundred bulbs (they were ridiculously cheap at the time, like $.25 apiece!) of four species of Calochortus from Brent and Becky's bulbs. Cc. luteus, venustus and speciosus all went into this meadow. I'd scattered several hundred seed of Calochortus gunnisonii I'd had sitting in my seed files for years as well. It took several years for the gunnisonii to come into bloom: I now have dozens of these as well: the original Californians have taken well to their Colorado captivity. The second shot shows these last summer blazing away. I now look forward to seeing what permutations show up: some of the original clumps have five or more stems, and a dozen flowers this year! Can't wait till May when they bloom again!

Comments


Submitted by Booker on Thu, 02/18/2010 - 07:02

Magnificent sight Panayoti ... there are growers drooling into their cocoa here in the U.K.


Submitted by Lori S. on Thu, 02/18/2010 - 19:56

So, who, in colder zones, is growing calochortus?  (I have never tried any species.)
C. apiculatus barely sneaks into southern Alberta (Waterton N.P.) but I have to admit I have not seen it. 


Submitted by RickR on Thu, 02/18/2010 - 22:46

I've toyed with them (in my mind).  In fact it was just this winter that I read a most excellent article regarding the genus in a back issue of (N)ARGS (about 1968, I think).  Again, I was inspired to try some, but something else always seems to take priority. . .


Submitted by Hoy on Fri, 02/19/2010 - 01:27

I have tried Calochortus twice, "nice, fat hybrid bulbs" from Holland! They don't like it here, anyway, disappear in one or two seasons. Anybody who knows about species able to cope with winter moisture?


Submitted by Kelaidis on Fri, 02/19/2010 - 08:22

I am adding a few more pix of the Californian Calochortus that have come through repeated zubzero cold every winter: this winter we've had over 60" of snow and the ground has been saturated and I suspect they will do just fine!

Summer heat is probably more important. Hence growing them with grasses which suck up the excess moisture. I have no doubt that there are other chemical reactions occuring with grass roots (symbiotic in nature)--a wonderful arena for research!


Submitted by Hoy on Fri, 02/19/2010 - 10:39

Kelaidis, do you think it is better to sow them in situ than plant bulbs? I have a place at the south east coast where I can try them. It's warmer than here.


Submitted by Kelaidis on Fri, 02/19/2010 - 13:36

Most of the commercial Calochortus are heat lovers: you would have to give them a hot microclimate (south side of a rock or house) and companion grass that would be compatible to succeed over time in a moisture climate with these.

The more moisture demanding species from higher elevations (and there are lots) would probably do fine in a thyme meadow or growing in a well drained classic rock garden. These you would have to do from seed since I know no reliable bulb source.

Hope this helps!


Submitted by Hoy on Fri, 02/19/2010 - 13:48

Many thanks! I'll look for seed to try at my cabin by the south coast. It is warmer and drier there. It is exciting trying new species!


Submitted by Michael J Campbell on Sun, 05/27/2012 - 15:36

Calochortus albus
Calochortus albus
Calochortus albus var rubellus
Calochortus albus var rubellus


Submitted by RickR on Sun, 05/27/2012 - 20:19

Wonderful buds, Michael.  And multiple ones per stem, too!

Isn't it interestingly odd how the area of color on the petals seem to affect the shape of the petals themselves...


Submitted by Hoy on Mon, 06/04/2012 - 13:32

Michael have you time to do anything but nursing your plants ;) Another gem!


Submitted by Michael J Campbell on Mon, 06/04/2012 - 14:09

One grandchild and two great grandchildren to mind as well as a few plants. ;D ;D ;D


Submitted by Hoy on Mon, 06/04/2012 - 14:43

Yes, I supposed you had a few plants..... but great grandchildren! Marvellous :o


Submitted by Fermi on Fri, 11/02/2012 - 00:34

I grew this from SRGC seedex 2008 - labelled "white Calochortus amoenus".
Well, it's not white, but is it C. amoenus?
cheers
fermi


Submitted by bulborum on Fri, 11/02/2012 - 01:16

Looks as it Fermi
so doesn't come true from seed
hopefully there is a white one in-between one of the other seedlings

Roland


Submitted by Hoy on Fri, 11/02/2012 - 03:53

If they are from a white parent they they should be heterozygotic and you can try to self them! 25% of the progeny should then be white. Shouldn't take you more than a few years  ;)


Submitted by Mark McD on Fri, 11/02/2012 - 05:58

Fermi wrote:

I grew this from SRGC seedex 2008 - labelled "white Calochortus amoenus".
Well, it's not white, but is it C. amoenus?
cheers
fermi

Congratulations on growing a beautiful Calochortus.  To my eyes, it looks like C. albus var. rubellus, distinctive because of the squared off "shoulders" to the blooms as seen in some frits.  C. amoenus has more evenly rounded or globular flowers.  The two species are similar, the Pacific Bulb Society photo galleries show both species within inches of each other on screen with which to compare:
http://www.pacificbulbsociety.org/pbswiki/index.php/CalochortusSpeciesOne


Submitted by Fermi on Mon, 11/05/2012 - 00:01

Thanks, Mark,
I have grown Calochortus amoenus before

but I never got C. albus var rubellus to flowering size before but I was a bit suspicious about this one. Completely different plant to the C. albus I'd grown in the past. I wonder if this one needs to be moved as it's in a hot dry bed though there will be some high tree cover in summer.

Roland,
I only managed to get 2 seedlings to survive so I'll wait and see if the other is anything different.

Trond,
if I can get down to that level I'll try the pollinating! ;D
cheers
fermi


Submitted by Hoy on Wed, 11/07/2012 - 14:06

Fermi wrote:

Trond,
if I can get down to that level I'll try the pollinating! ;D
cheers
fermi

Well, if you can't bend you certainly can lift the pot (it isnt that big?)  on to the table?


Submitted by Fermi on Thu, 11/08/2012 - 01:22

Hoy wrote:

Fermi wrote:

Trond,
if I can get down to that level I'll try the pollinating! ;D
cheers
fermi

Well, if you can't bend you certainly can lift the pot (it isnt that big?)  on to the table?

the other one was in the ground!
Actually it has already faded - I'll check for seeds soon.
cheers
fermi


Submitted by Hoy on Sat, 11/10/2012 - 10:08

Fermi wrote:

Hoy wrote:

Fermi wrote:

Trond,
if I can get down to that level I'll try the pollinating! ;D
cheers
fermi

Well, if you can't bend you certainly can lift the pot (it isnt that big?)  on to the table?

the other one was in the ground!

cheers
fermi

Then you could either dig a hole to sit in or dig out the plant? Or better still - use a brush with a long handle!
Well too late now anyway ;)


Submitted by cohan on Thu, 11/15/2012 - 14:58

Great meadow, Panayoti! I like this effect, though I don't have any grasses locally that stay small- maybe some sedges, but most of those around here are woodland and wetland species...
As for cold climate species, Alplains I think listed one or two at z4, and Beavercreek had (last time I looked) one or more at z3..


Submitted by Susan ITPH on Fri, 09/20/2013 - 21:54

I was happy to discover Telos has several bulbs of Calochortus that I've been lusting after, including C. kennedyi. I splurged on C. striatus and C. simulans. I will save my pennies for more next year since I'm an impatient youth. I've heard rumors here of people saving C. nuttallii bulbs from development and giving them to whomever can give them a good home. I can't confirm this, but I'm going to follow up on it next time I'm in a room with the local UNPS chapter.


Calochortus are in bloom in the Southern Hemisphere!

Calochortus luteus bulbs bought from Marcus Harvey in Tasmania a few years ago and flowering reliably each year,

.Calochortus.luteus. .Calochortus.luteus.

Calochortus superbus, grown from seed many years ago,

.Calochortus.superbus.

Calochortus catalinae, also grown from seed and currently in the shade-house - not sure why (maybe just forgot to take it back after the winter?),

Calochortus catalinae

cheers

fermi


Submitted by RickR on Thu, 11/07/2013 - 10:48

Today I really investigated Calochortus spp. flowers, because I thought I kept seeing inconsistencies in the structure.  What are these three green things radiating from the center of the flower?  Even in the same species, "some" flowers have them, and some "don't".

(Fermi's photo)

Calochortus catalinae         

Mind you, I've never seen a calochortus in real life, so no no comments from the peanut gallery, please, but you can all laugh amongst yourselves. <grin>

--- are they the real petals, and the large appendages behind are the sepals?

--- are they "new" appendages that most flowers don't have?

--- is the photography playing a trick, and they are the outlines of the overlapping parts of the petals?

 

Well they are the actual botanical sepals, and in in the normal configuration (behind the petals).  But in some calochortus flowers, they can pop up between the petals, giving the illusion of being on top of them, and then disappear behind the petals again. 

Isn't (plant) life grand!


That's intersting, Rick!

I went back and found a couple of pics from the end of last month which shows the sepal "caught in the act"!

Calochortus catalinae with sepal showingCalochortus catalinae with sepal showing - side on

This is  Calochortus splendens grown from Seedex seed; the second pic showing the mesh of fine "hairs"

Calochortus splendens budCalochortus splendens inside

Here's one I grew from seed as Calochortus venustus - to me it looks like Calochortus superbus

Calochortus - maybe - venustus

but  another in the batch of seedlings has a stripe above the basal blotch which seems to indicate it is true to name - any of you more experienced growers able to add anything?

cheers

fermi


Fermi, these are all very beautiful.  In this last one, C. umpquaensis, the dark hairs towards the center of the flower are most fetching.  Seems that the Calochorti do very well in your climate.


[quote=Mark McD]

 In this last one, C. umpquaensis, the dark hairs towards the center of the flower are most fetching.

[/quote]

And then they change to white hairs and continue almost all the way up the petals.....

All these Calochortus are very interesting!


Hi Mark and Rick.

I'm trying to grow as many of the Calochortus as I possible can but I really like these ones which "look after themselves" in our garden - the "Mediterranean" climate suits them I guess,

cheers

fermi


Submitted by Fermi on Tue, 11/26/2013 - 07:03

In reply to by Fermi

Latest one to flower is a deep pinky red form of Calochortus venustus from NARGS Seedex seed, I think,

Calochortus venustus red

cheers

fermi


This is Calochortus luteus from NARGS Seedex 2006 donated by Betty Lowry as "compact form" - which it certainly is, so I keep some in a pot so I don't lose it!

Calochortus luteus compact form

cheers

fermi


Sometimes we can't find the labels for our bulbs - this is one reason why:

Tachyglossus aculeatus aculeatusTachyglossus aculeatus aculeatus

Despite not having a label for this one I'm pretty sure it's Calochortus argillosus which was grown from Seedex seed

Calochortus argillosusCalochortus argillosusCalochortus argillosus

cheers

fermi


I haven't flowered this one yet - grown from NARGS Seedex 2008 - Calochrotus vestae.

I was disappointed that only one bulb survived when I repotted it last year but this year found that it had made up for that set back - 4 decent sized stem bulbils!

.Calochortus vestae.bulb with stem-bulbils..Calochortus vestae.bulb with stem-bulbils.

cheers

fermi


Submitted by RickR on Sun, 02/01/2015 - 09:59

I didn't know they did that!

It looks as though the lowest stem bulblet was under the soil surface, but the rest were above, and perhaps in a gravel type mulch?

The top three don't seem to be positioned like they were connected to the original plant.  Could they be more than a year old?


Calochortus venustus has flowered well - there is a little variation as they were raised from seed

Calochortus venustus

Calochortus clavatus var recurvifolius just starting

Calochortus clavatus.var,recurvifoliusCalochortus clavatus.var,recurvifolius

cheers

fermi


Delightful!  Seeing these photos from the southern hemisphere is tremendously uplifting in the short days of winter.

So funny that the only way we see this North American species on the NARGS forum is when it's posted from an Australian garden!

 


Hi Lori,

Still happy to post pics here as I haven't fallen in with the FB crowdcheeky

Last one for the year is a Calochortus clavatus grown a few years ago from NARGS Seedex seed donated by Cyril La Fong in Scotland,

Calochortus clavatus

cheers

fermi


Submitted by RickR on Thu, 12/17/2015 - 18:13

In reply to by Fermi

Always nice to see all these gems, Fermi.  I especially like the calochortus, and I've been putsing with seed of various species, but haven't got any to survive a winter outside here yet.  But....... this winter is so ridiculously warm!  People are calling it "the season formerly known as winter".  (Remember, Minnesota is the home of the music artist formerly known as Prince.)   Claude Barr tried extensively in South Dakota, the state to the west of me, without success.  But that was in the pre climate change era.


Hi Rick,

I didn't realize that Calochortus would be that difficult for you, though years of listening to "A Prairie Home Companion" should have reminded me about the severe winters you experience. I usually order a few species from the Seedexes each year and try them in the garden when they are large enough. Several have persisted but I think they benefit from re-planting in fresh soil which is why the Calochortus splendens did so well this year, I think,

cheers

fermi