Monday, May 2, 2011

Plants Grown for "Interest"

Three years ago in 2008 my Cardiocrinum cordatum bloomed.

Here it is this spring (2011), two of the three surviving offshoots from the monocarpic bulb that died after flowering. Maybe this will be the year it blooms again, but I would guess I'll have to wait another year or two.

Several years ago Tom Yates at Lantern Court at Holden Arboretum gave me a start of Cardiocrinum cordatum. It has become one of my most enjoyable plants. I believe I have written about it before, but it is worthy of multiple mentions. First of all it is not the famous giant lily Cardiocrinum giganteum which is just a bit too tender for us here in north central Ohio, but just by being in the same genus should attract attention. Secondly Cardiocrinum cordatum emerges from the ground in the spring with bright red veined leaves (see above) such as might be depicted on plates, they are so colorful. The red quickly fades and the plant goes about growing for the summer unless it is a flowering year. They are monocarpic. That is they bloom once and die. In several years of growing them mine flowered once. After finishing I dug it up and replanted the offshoots of the dieing central bulb. Three survived, two of which are pictured above growing in 2011.

I have also attached an image of the flowering year; it was so exciting. So I guess I grow Cardiocrinum cordatum mostly as a sort of curiousity, but that term does not do the plant justice. It give me more pleasure than most of my plants because I am drawn to it to see what it is doing now. For me gardening is mostly about growing plants, and this one is definitely fun to grow.