Re: Dracunculus vulgaris cultural requirements?
Hello, Marge. Dracunculus vulgaris is not particularly common where I live,
but one sees it in old neighborhoods where it has persisted for generation
after generation since introduced by European immigrants probably around
the turn of the century. It is a rugged, long-lived plant. It was never
very popular, because it is not a particularly showy plant. It has nice
foliage, though, and interesting flowers.
I do not think it is particular as to soil, since it thrives in both
England's relatively rich, lime-saturated soils, and here in very poor acid
clay soils. It probably grows naturally in meadows, open woodlands, and on
the edges of forest. It doesn't need full sun--might even burn--but it will
languish in deep shade. It will probably be happy if you can give it a spot
with a few hours of direct sun and bright open shade the rest of the day.
My grandparents used to have an ancient colony against a north-facing wall,
in the shade but exposed to the bright open sky all day.
It comes up here late winter, and goes dormant as soon as it gets too hot
or it runs out of water.
You will need to plant the corms (I think they're corms) below frost line.
Your seasons change rather more abruptly and are more extreme than in their
native Europe; that might shock them a bit. You could try a mulch to soften
the change. Whatever you do, try to keep them cool but frost free, and in
moist but well-drained soil.
Once you get them safely established they should be very easy for you.
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