Bessera elegans

  • 4 Replies
  • 10423 Views
*

Alisdair

  • Global Moderator
  • Hero Member
Bessera elegans
« on: August 03, 2011, 12:32:42 PM »
Pamela asked: By the way I have not been successful with Bessera elegans.  I put a load in two years ago and also last year another tranche...not one has emerged.  Are they difficult in alkaline dry soil?

Pamela, I don't think these are really suited to mediterranean conditions, as they do need water during their summer growing period (they are dormant in winter). Your only chance would be to plant them in quickly draining soil, perhaps sandy, and to give them plenty of water in summer.
They don't like soil that is at all compacted. I have had no success with them in Greece (soil that bakes nearly to clay in summer), and little success with them outdoors in the UK (the dormant corms are not frost-hardy). I do grow them under frost-free glass (see photo), in a light very free-draining compost, drying them out completely in the winter, and giving lots of water in winter, and they thrive under those conditions. They are quick to come to flowering size from seed - and the corms increase in number quickly, too.
They are so elegant, with little flowers reminiscent of fuchsias, on long elegant stems, and long very narrow leaves to match, that they are worth a bit of special treatment.
Alisdair Aird
Gardens in SE England (Sussex); also coastal Southern Greece, and (in a very small way) South West France; MGS member (and former president); vice chairman RHS Lily Group, past chairman Cyclamen Society

pamela

  • Sr. Member
Re: Bessera elegans
« Reply #1 on: August 03, 2011, 05:01:02 PM »
Thank you for moving my question to a more appropriate place. I should have known a question tacked on the end of another doesn't get the best airing.
Anyway thanks for that information Alisdair, but I do fear they are not going to survive in my garden.  They are so joyful and I like them very much.  I did think that maybe they would take a few years to appear..maybe the bulbs/corms?? were immature. I had this with Narcissus bulbocodium conspicuus  After several years they appeared.  In the last 3 years I have become very interested in bulbs as giving real added value to a Mediterranean garden. 
Jávea, Costa Blanca, Spain
Min temp 5c max temp 38c  Rainfall 550 mm 

"Who passes by sees the leaves;
 Who asks, sees the roots."
     - Charcoal Seller, Madagascar

Daisy

  • Sr. Member
Re: Bessera elegans
« Reply #2 on: August 04, 2011, 07:54:52 AM »
I also planted a few corms of Bessera elegans in the spring.
The leaves came up okay. They have now withered in the last two or three weeks, but as yet no sign of any flowers.
Mine are planted in the garden, which is a light sandy loam.
They are in full sun, but partly underneath a little Salvia scabra.
It would be heartening to hear, if anybody has success with these pretty flowers in a mediterranean garden.
Daisy :)
Amateur gardener, who has gardened in Surrey and Cornwall, England, but now has a tiny garden facing north west, near the coast in north east Crete. It is 300 meters above sea level. On a steep learning curve!!! Member of both MGS and RHS

*

John

  • Hero Member
Re: Bessera elegans
« Reply #3 on: August 10, 2011, 10:02:37 PM »
They do OK here in London! Well actually quite well in pots though they are very prone to red spider mite which is a real problem. They are stunning but it is interesting that they only appear to be available in the scarlet form and I haven't seen any of their other colour forms.
John
Horticulturist, photographer, author, garden designer and plant breeder; MGS member and RHS committee member. I garden at home in SW London and also at work in South London.

*

John

  • Hero Member
Re: Bessera elegans
« Reply #4 on: September 21, 2011, 09:20:46 AM »
Here's a picture of this showing the red spider. It's noticeable to the left at the base of the umbel.
« Last Edit: September 21, 2011, 09:22:17 AM by John »
John
Horticulturist, photographer, author, garden designer and plant breeder; MGS member and RHS committee member. I garden at home in SW London and also at work in South London.