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  Dracunculus vulgaris cultural requirements?
From: "Marge Talt" <mtalt at clark.net> on 1997.10.05 at 18:14:19(1391)

I've just received 5 large corms? of D. vulgaris from a friend in Holland.
Some of them look like they are starting into growth, showing a definite
point that looks like it's trying to form roots.

From: "Robert Wagner" <robwagner at robwagner.seanet.com> on 1997.10.08 at 03:42:45(1403)
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.


From: jbauer <"jbauer at concordnc.com" at concordnc.com> on 1997.10.12 at 15:56:43(1432)
Marge Talt wrote:
> Greetings,
> I've just received 5 large corms? of D. vulgaris from a friend in Holland.
> Some of them look like they are starting into growth, showing a definite
> point that looks like it's trying to form roots.
> >From reading past posts, I understand these guys would be hardy in my USDA
> zone 7 garden, but I don't have much clue on what kind of conditions they
> need to thrive.
> My soil is basic Maryland clay -- on the acid side. I have woodland beds
> of part sun or dappled shade with as much as a foot of rotted wood chips
> over this clay which in one bed has a lot of 3/4" bluestone gravel in it;
> I have a fairly small new bed of enriched clay in combination with compost
> and spent potting soil containing a good amount of grit that is east facing
> and gets sun for about 3 hours a day; I have borders of amended clay, all
> drain well and most are pretty full of large woody plants as well as
> assorted perennials -- these tend to get a bit dry and are basically either
> shady or partially shady.
> I'm making a sand bed for sun and good drainage lovers that will get
> planted tomorrow...this is 12 inches of sand and pea gravel over a couple
> inches of compost over clay that drains well.
> Do any of the above conditions sound like they would do or do I need to
> quickly make another type of environment??
> Or, should I pot these guys up and overwinter in my cool to cold pseudo
> greenhouse?
From: SMWills33 <SMWills33 at aol.com> on 1997.10.21 at 23:45:15(1460)
Hi Marge,

We were lucky enough to go to southern Crete for the last half of May and saw
masses of Dracunculus vulgaris in flower, mostly on rocky hillsides, but also
under trees and on the edges of cultivated areas. I would say they are not
too fussy as to habitat, but like a rich, well-drained soil which dries out in
summer. The ones on the hill-sides were in full sun with the corms
underneath rocks, so complete drying out probably does not occur - it was too
early in the year to dig to see.

I am sure you are, but do be aware of the totally repulsive smell of rotting
meat when they are in flower, which lasts until they are polinated.
Definitely not good near the kitchen window!

Simon Wills

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