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Cultivation (growing techniques): Soldanella

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Started by: Helen Johnstone

Go to latest contribution by Helen Johnstone, 09 March 2014, 21:27. Go to bottom of this page.

Contribution from Helen Johnstone 08 March 2014, 07:43top / bottom of page

Can someone give me advice on growing conditions for soldanella alpina. I bought a plant at a show and it is still residing in it's pot and seems quite happy. I had planned to plant it out in the garden and understand it needs humus rich soil with good drainage but now someone has told me they grow theirs on tufa which seems contrary to the other advice. I have looked on line and can't really find anything apart from sowing advice in SGRC

Contribution from John Good 08 March 2014, 10:38top / bottom of page

Here in N. Wales soldanellas grow best in semi-shaded conditions in a fairly humus-rich soil that does not dry out. I find them most satisfactory in troughs, because of their small size and my desitre to admire them close up. One note of caution, the flower buds are formed deep down on the crowns in autumn and remain there ready, in the wild, to burst into growth as the snow thaws in spring. In the garden they are very susceptible to damage by slugs and snails during the dormant period, so take appropriate action to control them. 

Contribution from Margaret Young 09 March 2014, 15:33top / bottom of page

Keeping Soldanellas of most species flowering well has been the subject of mant  discussions in the SRGC Forum - of course there are some skilled growers who exhibiti terrific potfuls at the shows who seem to have little difficulty in flowering them well, but   doing so in the garden seems much more problematic.

 Here are a representative sample of comments from the SRGC pages :

'I keep my Soldanella in a north facing frame that only gets the evening sun in the summer time, and I cover it with glass in the winter and it flowers very well. I don't think they like greenhouses, much too hot in the summer. I have one in a raised bed facing south that is shaded by the house all winter, but full sun in the summer. It grows slowly but no flowers.' Republic of Irleand
'When I grew soldanellas for selling it was no problem getting them to flower in pots, but take one for the garden and you never again saw a flower . I think it was partly due to the fact that the ones in pots were covered over the winter, the flower buds are formed in the autumn and something makes them abort and never develop in the garden.'      Perthshire
'Soldanellas flower for me too, in troughs and raised beds in cool, leafy, gritty soil  rather than the open garden. We have minimal snow compared with Scotland or middle Europe and it is likely to be a few days of thaw/snow/thaw/snow/thaw, rather than a nice consistent snow cover for days or weeks on end.'  New Zealand
'We can 'grow' Soldanella quite readily here in Moray - but getting them to flower is an entirely different matter!'     Morayshire
'The Soldanellas do well here and flower despite winters that are very cold and often snowless.  I think perhaps it is not quite cold enough to lock them into dormancy in N. E. Scotland . The problematic ones here are those we lust after most - pusilla and minima - as they can be heaved out of the ground in our frequent freeze/thaw cycles.'    Nova Scotia
'While some Soldanellas grow in the wild on top of limestone rocks, this is something they tolerate, not require.'    Holland/Austria
'Soldanella montana : unlike S. carpatica, it does not like to have high humidity of the soil, just a little bit, and never let it dry. It also like having much lighter exposition, maybe a bit of sun too, but not the south exposition. In the nature I have found it in full, west sun and they had a bit yellowish leaves. I have also found that they like to have light soil, maybe with some small bark, peat and sand. The pH do not matter, they can grow from acidic to alkaline soil. . I know one thing for sure, that this species like to have less humid soil than Soldanella carpatica. Also it like to grow in much lighter conditions, even in a bit of sun. In full sun it is growing poorly, but it can survive, when S. carpatica would die for sure'.  Poland
Good luck, Helen - these plants are among the most delightful of alpine flowers.

Contribution from Helen Johnstone 09 March 2014, 21:27top / bottom of page

Many thanks Margaret and John - seems to me planting in the garden leads to slug attack. I think I will repot into a slightly larger pot and take it from there

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