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Re: Cultivation of Dracunculus vulgaris

  • Subject: Re: Cultivation of Dracunculus vulgaris
  • From: Steve Marak <samarak@gizmoworks.com>
  • Date: Wed, 03 Jul 2013 15:14:30 -0500


I'll add my two cents. I've grown D. vulgaris outdoors here in NW Arkansas for almost 30 years now, acquired locally from people who had grown them here for at least 40 years before that.

Mine put up leaves usually in February, sometimes early March, far earlier than I think they should, but don't seem to be bothered by frosts down into the 20 F/-7 C range. They flower in early to mid-June, and are making seed now. They will tolerate a fair amount of shade but seem happiest in half-day sun. Some get a little irrigation, just because they are near other things that must have it, but there are also some that survived the extreme drought and heat (in excess of 110 F/44 C at times, no rain for at least 8 weeks) last year with no supplemental water and seem no worse for it this year (they flowered and are setting seed too). The soil is former cow pasture and probably slightly alkaline, but I've never checked the pH.

They will probably be in full dormancy around the end of August, maybe a little sooner if there isn't much rain.


On 7/3/2013 1:20 PM, DAVID LEEDY wrote:
When I lived in Los Angeles, I just placed some tubers of D. vulgaris in the ground and forgot about them until they sprouted and bloomed.
Here in North Texas, the circumstances are a little different (eg. temperatures, humidity, etc.).  I tried growing 7 tubers in containers.  Four sprouted, two did not sprout - but still look viable, and one rotted. 
The four that sprouted did so in April - May, looked terrible, and were down within 6 -8 weeks or so.  When do they ordinarily sprout in the Northern Hemisphere?  How long do the ordinarily grow before going dormant again.
Is there a particular soil acidity/alkalinity requirement for this species? 
I had them in partial shade (early morning only).  Do they require more shade or more sun?
I watered them with a weak plant food when I thought they needed it (more often in warmer weather).  Should they be allowed to dry out or should the soil remain moist?
Thanks in advance for your suggestions.
David Leedy

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