Poor Knights lily
HAVE a Xeronema callistemon which is a number of years old,
but has never flowered. I need to do something very soon or it will
break out of the pot. I realise Taupo can be off-putting, but I
keep it at the back door where it has all day sun.
Poor Knights lily can take many years to come into flower - and
even then it can be rather temperamental, with a mass of flowers
one year, followed by few or no blooms the next.
In their natural habitat
on the Poor Knights and Hen and Chickens Islands, they grow in small
pockets of soil among rocks around the coast, exposed to full sun,
wind and salt spray. The soil there is quite impoverished, low in
nutrients, very free-draining and at times quite dry. So for best
results in our gardens, we need to try to recreate these conditions.
Leave your plant to get
pot bound - don't be tempted to repot it. I've seen specimens so
tightly root-bound the plant is bulging way over the top of the
pot, but flowering beautifully. If necessary, put it into a strong
pot that won't split under root pressure. Don't fertilise unless
it looks exceptionally starved, as feeding encourages vegetative
growth at the expense of flowers, and too much fertiliser can cause
leaf tip burn. Expose it to as much sun as possible and allow it
to dry out somewhat before watering. Take care to protect it from
frost - and be patient!
Gardener, Issue 130, 2003, Page 26
Reproduced with permission from the former Weekend Gardener magazine. The views expressed here are not necessarily those of the RNZIH.