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Author Topic: Seramis and South African Bulbs  (Read 493 times)

P. Kohn

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Seramis and South African Bulbs
« on: August 28, 2019, 05:34:33 PM »
Reading an old copy of the Plantsman (New Series Volume 8, Part 3 pp189-191) in which Paul Cumberton extols the advantages of growing bulbs from seed in a 'Seramis' medium. However, he seems to have found that 'winter-growing bulbs from South Africa' did less well and speculated that the problem was providing an appropriate feeding regime.

Has anyone tried this approach with South African species ?  Can anyone direct me to advice about optimum growing media for these plants. We succeed with some but fail with more than we would like.

François Lambert

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Re: Seramis and South African Bulbs
« Reply #1 on: August 29, 2019, 12:12:47 PM »
It's somewhere here on the forum  - if I remember well - that winter growing SA bulbs don't like phosphorus in their soil.  But how to relate this to seramis ... no idea
Bulboholic, but with moderation.

Paul Cumbleton

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Re: Seramis and South African Bulbs
« Reply #2 on: August 29, 2019, 01:31:15 PM »
Francois,
Since writing that article I came to a different conclusion, which is that Seramis holds insufficient water for many South African bulbs, which seem to like plenty of moisture while in growth. Using instead one of the smaller grain sized clay cat litters (which hold more water) proved much more successful. Feeding did not in the end prove a problem when using this and I have grown various South African bulbs successfully in it. However, as the bulbs grow equally successfully in a more conventional and cheaper bulb mix, I do not use the cat litter as a general rule for these bulbs.

Also now the cat litter I was using (Tesco low dust cat litter) seems to no longer be available. Does anyone know of an alternative? - i have not been able to find one myself. The Sanicat Pink cat litter is still available, but this is quite a coarse granule, similar in size to Seramis, and I would like something smaller like the Tesco used to be.

Paul
Paul Cumbleton, Somerton, Somerset, U.K. Zone 8b (U.S. system plant hardiness zone)

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P. Kohn

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Re: Seramis and South African Bulbs
« Reply #3 on: August 29, 2019, 04:10:26 PM »
What would you regard as a conventional bulb mix, please?  We currently simply use a gritty version of our conventional seed sowing and pricking out mixes (2 parts Multipurpose: 1 part JI with extra added fine chick grit).

Paul Cumbleton

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Re: Seramis and South African Bulbs
« Reply #4 on: August 29, 2019, 05:23:37 PM »
I use a simple mix of half grit and half John Innes.

Paul
Paul Cumbleton, Somerton, Somerset, U.K. Zone 8b (U.S. system plant hardiness zone)

I occasionally sell spare plants on ebay -
see http://ebay.eu/1n3uCgm

http://www.pleione.info/

SJW

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Re: Seramis and South African Bulbs
« Reply #5 on: August 30, 2019, 12:06:33 AM »

...the cat litter I was using (Tesco low dust cat litter) seems to no longer be available. Does anyone know of an alternative? - i have not been able to find one myself. The Sanicat Pink cat litter is still available, but this is quite a coarse granule, similar in size to Seramis, and I would like something smaller like the Tesco used to be.

Paul

Yes, I noticed its absence from the shelves the last time I went to buy a bag. Agree about the coarseness of the Sanicat version, not too bad for compost mixes for potting on established plants but I like to use cat litter in my seed compost mix and the Tesco version was perfect for that. I have considered sieving Sanicat into fine and coarse grade! I'd also be interested to hear if there's an alternative available in the UK.
Steve Walters, West Yorkshire

P. Kohn

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Re: Seramis and South African Bulbs
« Reply #6 on: August 30, 2019, 07:58:14 AM »
Paul.  Many thanks for the clarification. It sounds like Seramis or cat litter is not going to improve our South African bulb growing. You reported very positive results for other bulbs but I can't see us maintaining the rigorous feeding regime. Did you eve try slow-release foods as an alternative ?

Paul Cumbleton

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Re: Seramis and South African Bulbs
« Reply #7 on: August 30, 2019, 10:07:37 AM »
Paul.  Many thanks for the clarification. It sounds like Seramis or cat litter is not going to improve our South African bulb growing. You reported very positive results for other bulbs but I can't see us maintaining the rigorous feeding regime. Did you eve try slow-release foods as an alternative ?

No, I haven't tried slow release feeds with Seramis or cat litter. The main reason for this is that most bulbs I cultivate grow from Autumn to Spring and are dormant for summer. Slow release feeds usually have a release mechanism based on temperature - the warmer it is, the more food is released. So during the main growth period for bulbs, little food is being released because it is too cold. So I don't think they are very effective for bulb cultivation. For me, I don't find it too time consuming to add fertiliser to each watering can as required.

Paul
Paul Cumbleton, Somerton, Somerset, U.K. Zone 8b (U.S. system plant hardiness zone)

I occasionally sell spare plants on ebay -
see http://ebay.eu/1n3uCgm

http://www.pleione.info/

P. Kohn

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Re: Seramis and South African Bulbs
« Reply #8 on: August 30, 2019, 02:12:03 PM »
Thanks.Paul. We don't really have an excuse for not feeding. It's just that in our small nursery we have to water by hosepipe and so slow release works really for us and we haven't really separted this 'bulk'propagation from the south african bulbs.

Neil

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Re: Seramis and South African Bulbs
« Reply #9 on: September 02, 2019, 10:36:37 PM »
Sainsbury's Lightweight Non-clumping Cat Litter  has smaller granules

https://www.sainsburys.co.uk/shop/gb/groceries/cat-litter/sainsburys-linen-fresh-non-clump-cat-litter-5l
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