South African Plants in Canada?

elkinj(Canada)December 31, 2003


I am interested in knowing which South African plants would grow well indoors in Canada. Does anyone know of a Canadian source for seeds or plants from South Africa? Has anyone shipped seeds from SilverHill to Canada?

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When I lived in northeastern Pennsylvania, some folks would grow summer-flowering South African bulbs as patio plants, or plants in pots for the garden (e.g., Cliva). Then, when temperatures approached 30 F (0 C), they would bring the plants indoors to a cool room (40-50 F, or 4-10 C) for the winter and essentially not provide any water for the plant till Spring. Then, when all danger of frost was over the plants were put back outside.

This is not exactly "growing the plants" indoors, but it worked well enough and the bulbs were happy with the pleasant summers and mild winter "storage."

I know that some folks grow mesembs the entire year under artificial lighting. They take special care to provide the correct light intensity and color. Additionally, some plants that take bright shade in South Africa might do fine in sunny windoes in northern climates; these might include Gasteria species, or African violets and related plants.


Here is a link that might be useful: Mesembs Under Lights (article)

    Bookmark   January 2, 2004 at 9:48AM
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Hi Elkinj,

Sorry for the belated reply. I am normally lurking around the Cacti and Succulents Forum. I have lithops and crassula growing very well on my western windowsill in Toronto, even in winter. You might require artificial light in Dec-Jan if you are far to the north in Manitoba, but I haven't encountered any problems with mine. There are others in Canada on the Cacti and Succulents Forum who might also be able to tell you what they are growing successfully.

    Bookmark   February 26, 2004 at 12:00AM
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Hi Elkinj,

I grow a number of SA plants here in BC. Most have to be brought indoors in winter, or mulched well.
Agapanthus is a favourite in Canada as is Bear's breeches. I think that's the name. It looks like a giant rhubard has tough crispy flower spikes. I used to have an African Ice Plant until the -32c weather we had this winter ccaused it to 'vrek'. There looks as though there could be some survivors under rocks though. Just about anything that can be container grown and brought indoors in winter, can be grown in Canada. There are many SA native plants in the nurseries that we do not realize are imported. Hesperantha is readily available and that makes an awesome indoor flowering plant for winter. I have namaqualand daisies in the garden, not sure if that is the correct name. Agaves and aloes also make great houseplants. The list is endless...


    Bookmark   March 27, 2004 at 12:57AM
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Oops, no you probably would not get agapanthus and bear's breeches to be house plants, and hesperantha would prefer to spend the summer outdoors in full sun and in a pot of water. I thought you meant grow indoors in winter only. However, the others I mentioned do fine as indoor plants. I am a bit adventurous and have tried to grow many plants not normally found indoors. I even have a guava and figs. I am not sure if banana is an SA native plant, but they make great house plants. Strelitzia is also a good house plant. Many of these seeds can be purchased in Canada at larger nurseries.


    Bookmark   March 27, 2004 at 2:12AM
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Gardeness(Z5a - Barrie,ON)


I've been growing the Fortnight Lily (or Dietes iridioides) indoors for about five or more years now and it's been doing fine. This makes a very nice houseplant that does not require much care. The flowers are quite stunning when they appear.


Here is a link that might be useful: Also known as African Iris

    Bookmark   April 8, 2004 at 12:59PM
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Try this link for more info.

Here is a link that might be useful: The mesembs

    Bookmark   January 25, 2005 at 4:24AM
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