Ericaceous and bulbs

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Joined: March 22nd, 2004, 10:53 pm

March 22nd, 2004, 3:53 pm #1

After Mother's day, I am now the proud owner of a lovely Camellia.
I am going to plant it in a large tub, full of ericaceous compost, was thinking of adding a few bulbs to this, like miniature daffs.
Would they like this compost?
I am asking as I planted some snowdrops in a tub with an Acer and ericaceous and they haven't come up this year and were fine for two years previously.
Nothing in my books
Cally
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Plantsman64
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Joined: January 5th, 2004, 5:52 pm

March 22nd, 2004, 4:26 pm #2

Although daffodils are tolerant of a wide variation in soil pH they are not lime haters (calcifuge) plants so I think only experimentation will give the a definitive answer. I think snowdrops can be fickle plants anyway and certainly in containers of acid compost. Maybe the compost has been proven unsuitable for them after two years. Look for some small, slow growing ericas.
Alternatively, you could plunge some small pots or pans into the tub before the camellias roots have colonised the space. These can be planted with your bulbs and removed when pot bound for separating and replanting. Plunge the pots just below the surface of the compost. If you want to re-create the display annually with other bulbs you can easily lift a pot and replace it with ones containing different bulbs. Peter
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DeeDee571
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Joined: October 23rd, 2003, 7:28 pm

March 22nd, 2004, 5:42 pm #3

My garden soil is acidic, thriving camellias and bulbs, I have masses of species daffs, crocus, species tulips, anemone blanda, fritillaries, scilla and Erythronium dens-canis, none of them seem to mind the acidity. The only things that don't do so well are the large tulips, but that's fine by me.
Snowdrops, I have masses growing in the soil between the granite in my walls, they even self seed, but they don't do quite so well in the garden for some reason.
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scotia10
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Joined: June 24th, 2003, 2:12 am

March 22nd, 2004, 5:48 pm #4

My thoughts are the same as Peter's a pot within a pot with compost to suit.

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Plantsman64
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March 22nd, 2004, 5:57 pm #5

There are alway tolerances and I think success or failure in the long term will depend upon the degree of acidity. Acidic compost is for calcifuge plants after all and it is unlikely that a garden soil where a variety of subjects are thriving will be of the same nature as ericaceous compost. Peter
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March 23rd, 2004, 12:50 am #6

Four years and going strong and inceasing says enough I think. maybe this isn't long term enough, but when plants are flowering well and increasing I would say they are not unhappy.
The majority of my beds have a pH of 4.00 - 4.5 whereas commercial ericaceous composts are between 4.5 and 5.00, so I think my soil is more acidic than the commercial composts.
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salli c
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March 23rd, 2004, 8:49 am #7

What is a calcifuge plant please?

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Plantsman64
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March 23rd, 2004, 10:23 am #8

Hello Sal, A calcifuge plant is a lime hating plant. A plant thriving were there is a depletion of available calcium in the soil.
Calci - fuge( Latin fugere to flee)


Peter
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salli c
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March 23rd, 2004, 5:42 pm #9

Peter. So are heathers and camellias calcifuges then?


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Plantsman64
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March 23rd, 2004, 6:07 pm #10

Indeed they are, Sal. All plants that will not tolerate an alkaline soil would be termed cacifuge plants. The term is often applied to those plants that are tolerant to degrees but do prefer an acid soil, so the margins my seem a little vague.
Calcicole is the antonym to calcifuge - those plants that prefer an alkaline soil or will not tolerate an acid one.
Peter
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scotia10
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March 23rd, 2004, 6:27 pm #11

I know what you mean re-margins being vague Peter.
I haven't tested my soil where my heathers and Camellia are but I would guess it is neutral to alkaline.
I say this on the strength that my heathers are in my rockery among 'alkaline' rocks.
My Camellia is near a brick wall with a concrete foundation.
Oh!!! the vagueries of gardening


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Plantsman64
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March 23rd, 2004, 7:46 pm #12

Absolutely, Scotia. Leeway and tolerances are the keywords with regard to the cultivation of plants. Sure, there are basic principles that must be taken on board when we are first learning about horticulture and which remain the foundation for further knowledge, but when we pass that stage and gain personal practical experience we see so many situations that require wider acceptance of the way things are. I try my best to only base my views on my own personal experiences in various aspects of plant cultivation. Others may come up with differing opinions that are equally valid and equally workable in the field. There is always an optimum environment for the best growth of any plant, but to make that definitive and uncompromising would be foolish indeed.Peter
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salli c
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March 24th, 2004, 8:40 am #13

Thanks Peter. That's one of the things I love about RG - you learn something new every day


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