Adaptation: Blue dicks occur from sea level up to 2,100 meters. It inhabits a wide variety of plant communities including vernal pools, coastal strand, mixed evergreen forest, chaparral, valley grassland, desert scrub, coniferous forests, oak woodlands, montane scree, and on the fringe of coastal salt marsh and redwood forest.
It appears that it does not colonize after fire by seed, but rather is a permanent resident all along, occurring as inconspicuous corms in the soil throughout mature chaparral, often not flowering until an appropriate disturbance. With fire, plants are released from unfavorable shaded environments with brush competition, and vigorously flower in open environments with increased soil nutrients.
If possible, obtain the seed and corms from local sources near where they will be planted, to maintain genetic diversity of blue dicks and for the best adaptation to local conditions. Some plant nurseries may label their corms and seeds according to geographic source.
Propagation by seed: Seeds sown in the fall usually readily germinate and do not need special treatment. If sown at other times of the year the seeds may need one month's stratification. If planting seeds, they will take several years to reach flowering size. Scatter seeds and rake them lightly into the soil in full or partial sunlight. If planting seeds in pots--then place them in reduced sunlight on the east or north side of a building or under a deciduous tree. Plant the seeds at a depth, which equals the width of the seeds. They should be planted in a well-drained soil. Water the seeds after planting and don't let the soil dry out completely. Water them again when the surface is dry to the touch. Water the seeds gently so as not to exhume the seed. If using a watering can, diffuse the water flow with a sprinkler fan or head. Protect the seeds from animals and cold, dry winds, and from weed competition. The seedlings should be watered through the spring. At the beginning of hot weather, the leaves will start to yellow. At this time, cease watering. If the seeds are in pots, then move them in summer to a darker area, such as a carport or garage and keep a screen on them to keep out foraging animals. When the weather cools down once again, move the pots back outside and go through a full rain or watering cycle once again. After 24 months, the corms can be planted in full sun or filtered shade in October or November. Plant them about six inches apart or scatter the corms and plant them where they fall to give them a look of a "natural" distribution. After one bloom, the plants should be well established so that they don't need to be weeded or watered unless it is a dry winter. If it is a dry winter, then water every three weeks.
Corms are the easiest to start. Plant bigger corms 3-4 inches deep and smaller corms 1-2 inches deep in well-drained soil in full sun in the autumn, and the plants can tolerate afternoon sun. Space the corms one-inch apart. If pocket gophers are a problem, you may want to dig a hole and line it with chicken wire mesh, before planting corms. (Plastic mesh won't stop gophers.) Water the plants (wet, but not soggy) and then wait for the winter rains. The plant is common in climates that have rain in winter and spring, and a summer dry season. Therefore, simulate these conditions in the garden. The plant is intolerant of frequent summer water and should not be planted near lawns or plants that require a lot of moisture during the summer. Weed around the plants regularly.
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