knowledgable south african
i see there is much confusion about south african plants. do they like it dry or wet, sunny or shady etc. truth be told in our country we have about15-20 microclimates...so depending where the plant comes from will deteremine what conditions they prefer. the reason the south western cape has about 10 000 plant species is because rainfall and temperature changes excessively. rainfall in the meditarrenean areas vary from 150mm to over 3500mm(about 7inches to over 130inches)mountains block rain and create cool very moist pockets where the plants can handle extreme colds and snow. soils are generally immature and lack organic humus. coastal soils are mostly sandy, this also where most cultivated bulb species originate from.this results in the tricky part of growing cape bulbs, they love generous watering, but hate poorly drained soils. you do however find bulbs that prefer the malmesbury shale soil types and may grow in clay soils. sounds complicated...not really as a general rule keep the soil well drained, not rich and water regularly in the growing season. south africa however does not only consist of fynbos(cape flora)...clivia's are from the wet east of south africa where very high rainfall and forest canopy requires much mulching and watering. this area is similiar i guess to say northern florida and southern georgia. the north generally consists of bushveld with typical savannah and the west of desert shrubs. the extreme south is similar to northern california/southern oregon with rain throughout the year, thick temperate rainforest and cool temperatures. and i haven't even started on south africa's wet and dry alpine flora....a mouthful...if you want to know anything, i have fairly sound knowledge on the flora and associated climes, so ask if you have a question...
speak soon bobbejaantjie(babiana bulb)