Anyone grow Aciderantha or Hymenocalis?

northerner_on(Z5A ONCanada)April 1, 2012

Hello everyone: Now that my perennial garden is settled, I am looking to plant a few spring bulbs (I'm in Zone 5 Canada). Several years ago, I planted these two bulbs (don't even remember where I got them) over a period of about 5 years, digging and storing them each fall, and never getting a single bloom. I had forgotten about them until I recently saw them listed in a catalogue and found them very interesting again, but I am wondering, do they ever bloom? Over the years they have gone through a few name changes: Aciderantha used to be identified as part of the gladiolus family or Peaccock Orchid; Hymenocalis is also called Ismene and Peruvian daffodil. I love the look of these blooms, but remember my experience. Anyone had any better luck?

Thank you.

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Your blooming problem may lie with your name,"northerner". They both do well here with our longer season. Acidanthera, now called Gladiolus callianthus, is grown the same as Gladiolus, but takes much longer than the 90 days usually required for Gladiolus to bloom. I have found the bulbs for both the Acidanthera and the Hymenocallis newly purchased are not always large enough to guarantee a bloom, and the Hymenocallis tends to make more bulbs or 'splits' at the expense of bloom or enlarging the planted bulb for next year. I would suggest you try again starting as early as possible and planting in the sunniest location. I have 120 Acidanthera planted in pots for an early start, here where they also tend to not bloom the first season. Al

    Bookmark   April 1, 2012 at 7:55AM
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I have no problem with either of them blooming here, and my climate is similar to southern Ontario along the lake shores.

As stated above, the bulbs you buy at the store tend to be pretty wimpy, and may or may not bloom the first year. If they aren't blooming after that, I'd say cultural factors are probably the issue. Both bloom rather quickly from a May planting, the Peruvian daffs in late June, the Acidanthera late July or August. So, I doubt your climate is really the problem. You should have enough heat units in S. Ontario to grow both without trouble.

    Bookmark   April 1, 2012 at 1:48PM
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northerner_on(Z5A ONCanada)

Hi Al and Denini, you have both have given very valuable insight into my experience. This was so long ago, I cannot remember where I got the bulbs, and it was probably from the same nursery who advised me to buy the Lamium which I have been trying to eradicate for so many years. You recommend a May planting which is not feasible for tender bulbs this far north (Zone 5A), so perhaps starting them indoors in pots would be a solution. Since that time, I have grown many tender plants in pots, Begonias, Dahlias,Oxalis, Cannas etc., which I bring indoors in their pots each year. I usually give them a head-start by placing them in front of my south-facing window as early as April. Perhaps they could be treated this way. It's good to know that they do actually bloom. I will order from Veseys which I have found quite reliable over the years. Thank you both.

    Bookmark   April 2, 2012 at 12:52PM
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brit5467(7b/8a Coastal VA)

Don't know if this will help, since I'm in zone 7b. But I often take a chance and buy the cheap bulbs in bags sold at Dollar General and Big Lots and I found Acidanthera one time. Planted them (can't tell you when...probably early spring since I wasn't into fall bulb planting yet) and they came up beautifully that year. I believe it was very late in the season??? But after that, have never seen them again.

Don't know if something dug them up (not much of a critter problem here, except squirrels) or if they just died. However, when my fiance was alive, he had a garden out back which gets late afternoon sun from the west until the sun sets behind buildings.

We called that garden 'the hospital' because I could give him what had died or looked pitiful and it would come back to life. And I remember giving him the leftover bulbs from the bag that didn't seem worth planting (small, dried up, etc). And you know...those have come back every year.

Now, he did keep that area watered but other than that, didn't do much to it as far as fertilizing, etc. and no mulch. In other words, no pampering whatsoever.

As well, lots of other plants that didn't do well in my early AM eastern then afternoon southeast sun until around 2 or 3pm (which is all HOT and scorching in summer) seemed to love it back there (where it wasn't as hot or strong...just sunny).

So I'm inclined to think some plants like the Acidanthera just like that afternoon western, bright but less hot sun. Just my assumption. Except for the fact than he had a greener than green thumb and could get sticks to

    Bookmark   April 3, 2012 at 1:57AM
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northerner_on(Z5A ONCanada)

Thanks for this info.,Brit. Perhaps it may be best to keep them in pots so I can adjust the sun requirements if necessary. I do have an area where I get hot afternoon sun which could do with some colour.
P.S. Forgive my typo. in the Subject. Did not catch it until now. R.

    Bookmark   April 3, 2012 at 3:03AM
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I grow both those bulbs but have found they do better for me in pots. I also found with the hymenocallis that the variety "Sulpher Queen" was very reliable to bloom but never had much luck with the white variety so gave up on them. The Sulpher Queen has a lovely light lemony fragrance. I pot up that one late April in my zone because I have found it grows quite quickly and will bloom while still indoors if I start too early; our last frost here is late May so can't put out too early. The acidanthera I usually pot up in May as well; they also sprout quite fast and bloom here in mid to late August. I like to use them as a centre feature in a larger pot as the foliage is attractive even when not blooming.

    Bookmark   April 3, 2012 at 11:02AM
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northerner_on(Z5A ONCanada)

Thanks Debbie, you confirmed my thoughts with respect to growing them in pots. I don't think I have ever seen the "Supher Queen". I must look for it. It's the white variety I grew, and that's also the one offered in the catalogue I have. I will do a search on the Web.

    Bookmark   April 3, 2012 at 5:21PM
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brit5467(7b/8a Coastal VA)

You're welcome. I like the pot idea too!! I still have some bulbs that look good so gonna give it a try!!

    Bookmark   April 4, 2012 at 2:23PM
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My tip is this. To acidantera quickly blossomed its bulbs should be stored after digging at a temperature not lower than 25 Celsius before planting.
With regard to Ismene (Hymenokallis), it is important to keep after digging at room temperature not lower than 15 Celsius. Planted in a pot, I would not recommend it.
We also have areas with zone 5, and there is great and growing these plants in bloom.
To do this, they should be planted as soon as possible, but so that the sprouts do not fall under the freeze.
Under the bulbs should be given the most fertile soil, and additionally can be fertilized.
Dig the bulbs in the autumn after the first light frost. They bloom every year, I have plenty with no problems.

    Bookmark   June 1, 2012 at 5:45PM
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