Gloriosa rothschildiana

Discussion in 'Hobbies & Critters' started by John M, Jul 11, 2016.

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  1. Jul 11, 2016 #1

    John M

    John M

    John M

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    This very cool, vining plant produces the most striking flowers at any time of year. The 4 to 10 foot tall, frequently branching vines have curly tendrils at the tip of each leaf to aid in the plant climbing as it grows. Near the top, the plant produces these large, beautiful blooms which start out green and dark Cherry red. Each flower would fill an adult man's cupped hand. They quickly turn bright, Buttercup yellow and fire engine red and over the next week to 10 days, they slowly turn more red and less yellow, finally becoming completely red. As they do this colour change, they also reverse the reflexing of the petals, becoming more flat as they become more red.

    Larger vines produce a few dozen blooms that don't all open at the same time; so, from beginning to end, the plant can be in bloom for a couple months. Once the blooming is done, the plant remains green for a few more weeks and then begins turning yellow. It quickly dies and browns. I then unpot the new tubers, which are "V" shaped with a live, dormant eye at the tip of each leg of the "V" (the original, old tubers die and rot away). Each eye will eventually grow into a new plant, each with it's own new "V" shaped tuber and 2 more dormant eyes. So, 1 tuber makes 2 plants, which then grow into 4 plants and then 8 plants, etc., etc. The number opf tubers and plants doubles with each growth cycle, which takes about 5 to 9 months to complete.

    The unpotted tubers are cleaned of their dead roots and dead, brown vine still attached. Then they are gently washed and allowed to air dry. I store them during their dormancy at room temperature, either in the dark, or low light (full sun burns the white flesh of the tubers). I wait to see new growth coming from the tips of each "V" before I pot them up in regular house plant potting soil and water VERY sparingly. Some tubers begin growing in only a few weeks. Some stay dormant for many months. They don't all "wake up" at the same time. So, this gives you a continuous suppy of newly awakening tubers to pot up and produce flowers for you at all times of year. Once the new growth is about 4 or 5 inches tall, I begin watering enough to keep the soil evenly moist. The new vines grow VERY fast and come into bloom in about a month or so.....and the cycle repeats.

    The infividual blooms make great cut flowers too! They last just as long as cuts as they do on the vine.

    While the plants are in vigorous growth mode, I fertilize as any other flowering house plant. Once blooming finishes, I stop feeding, so that the tubers can finish their life cycle and go dormant without becoming soft from receiving too much nutrients.

    [​IMG]
     
  2. Jul 11, 2016 #2

    TyroneGenade

    TyroneGenade

    TyroneGenade

    mad scientist

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    Great flower photo!

    I grew several from seed last year. They have seemed to be a bit slow to wake-up this season. Only one has broken the soil and the others are still developing. I look forward to mine blooming. These are great lilies. The multiply very fast as well.

    Are you growing yours indoors all year?
     
  3. Jul 11, 2016 #3

    John M

    John M

    John M

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    Thanks very much, Tyrone. I grow them in the greenhouse; but, they'd do just as well in the house on a windowsill. When the tubers are dormant, I store them in an empty pot, inside a rubbermaid garbage pail that is under the benches. I check on them now and then to catch any that have begun to "wake up" and grow. Some begin growing very soon after going dormant. Some sit there for months and months before they spring to life again. But, once they do, they're slow at first....until they reach about 3 or 4 inches tall. Then, they shoot up and begin blooming super fast.

    I have selfed the flowers in the past and got seeds. They germinate readily; but, they do grow slowly. They take about 3 years to reach blooming size; going through a number of growth/dormant cycles before getting big enough to actually produce their first flower.
     
  4. Jul 11, 2016 #4

    silence882

    silence882

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    Those are some great flowers.

    Can these be grown outdoors during the spring/summer and then have the tubers brought indoors during the winter?
     
  5. Jul 11, 2016 #5
    I love these! Thqnks for sharing - I have many happy memories growing up with my neighbor showing these to me.

    David
     
  6. Jul 12, 2016 #6

    John M

    John M

    John M

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    Yes,.....in theory. I say that because it's highly possible that part-way through the winter, the tubers will wake up and begin to grow. Once that happens, you can't stop them. They must be planted and watered and allowed to produce a plant and flowers. By the time spring rolls around, the plants could be slowing again and going back into dormancy. My original intension was to have them ouside in the garden in the summer and just store the tubers during the winter. I put the clean, dry tubers in a basket on the shelf in my laundry room. They began growing mid-winter, not waiting for it to be warm enough for me to plant them outside. By the time it was warm, they were going dormant again. They seem to work on a 6 to 9 month cycle, not a 12 month cycle. So now, my original, single tuber has multiplied into about 2 dozen tubers and I have plants going dormant, plants in bloom, plants just starting growth and dormant tubers, all at the same time, in all months of the year. It does mean that it's not often that I don't have at least one plant coming into bloom, or actually in bloom.
     
  7. Jul 12, 2016 #7

    John M

    John M

    John M

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    No fragrance that I can detect. :(
     
  8. Jul 12, 2016 #8

    Happypaphy7

    Happypaphy7

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    Areas with usda zone 9 and warmer, yes.
    Others with freezing winter, they will have to be dug up before the frost.

    These are from South Africa and treat them just like many other plants from that area.

    I used to have this as a fence cover.
    Grew them like dahlias and gladiolus.
    Plant them in the late spring when the ground is very warm ( otherwise tidy won't wake up), grow and flower during the summer, brown and either down I the fall. Dig up and store indoor during the winter.

    Very easy to grow, very exotic!

    Fortunately, they are available as cut flowers here. Love these!
     
  9. Jul 13, 2016 #9

    paphioboy

    paphioboy

    paphioboy

    hehehe...

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    Very nice.. I used to a see a couple of feral clumps growing at a local public park. Not sure if someone intentionally planted them there. The plants reminds me of Lilium (flower) + Nepenthes (growth habit). I took cuttings once but they don't grow that way..
     
  10. Jul 13, 2016 #10

    Happypaphy7

    Happypaphy7

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    You divide them with their tubers. They multiple quite easily and fast that way.
     
  11. Oct 3, 2016 #11

    myxodex

    myxodex

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    Nice specimen. An indigenous species where I grew up on the east coast of South Africa where it is often seen growing along fences. It is apparently listed as a weed in some parts of Australia and the US.

    Be aware that this plant is very poisonous, especially the tubers which can be fatal if eaten, ... so if you store the tubers, keep them away from young children or pets that might accidently chew on them. They contain colchicine and other alkaloids.

    http://www.kew.org/science-conservation/plants-fungi/gloriosa-superba-flame-lily
     
  12. Oct 5, 2016 #12

    Don I

    Don I

    Don I

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    This is another plant that I've always craved. Thanks John
    Don
     
  13. Oct 13, 2016 #13

    Dandrobium

    Dandrobium

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    I can attest to it being a fast grower! This was a bulb I purchased from John about 5 weeks ago. Its at about the 3ft mark now, with buds in progress!

    [​IMG]
     
  14. Oct 14, 2016 #14

    John M

    John M

    John M

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    'Looking good, Dan! Thanks for the update.
     
  15. Feb 12, 2017 #15

    silence882

    silence882

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    BUMP.

    Does anyone have a good source for these in the US? Spring's a comin'!

    --Stephen
     
  16. Feb 13, 2017 #16

    John M

    John M

    John M

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  17. Feb 13, 2017 #17

    abax

    abax

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    White Flower Farm might be another source.
     
  18. Feb 17, 2017 #18

    silence882

    silence882

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    Thanks!
     

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