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How about a SA bulb thread?

Posted by mrmanchac z8b LA (My Page) on
Sat, Feb 22, 03 at 22:01

The Bulb Forum seems dominated by tulips, hyacinths and the like. SA bulbs can be grown in containers or with other special considerations in most climates while most SA shrubs and trees are difficult to impossible to grow outside of Mediterranean-type climates. A bulb thread would help those interested to zero in on their topic. I'll kick it off with a few questions.
Spiloxene: I'm growing this for the first time and am impressed with them. They are in bloom now but the tips of the leaves seem to be drying out. Is this normal? What can I expect from them in the future. Specifically, do they form new bulbs?
Lachenalia: My L. aloides v. quadricolor is finishing up its' bloom now. It looks suspiciously like a picture of L. mutabilis I've seen on the net. Are they the same? Also, what will they do after blooming and how do I treat them?


Follow-Up Postings:

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RE: How about a SA bulb thread?

Hi mrmanchac,

For 99% of people, bulbs either means the usual Spring bulbs sold at the local store or aroids like elephant ears. The other stuff gets lumped under "minor" or "botanical" bulbs and ends up on discussions like these we are having. The good part is that these discussions persist and so slowly the word gets out that there's a whole world of bulbs that make great pot plants just like orchids, succulents and other specimen plants.

Don't grow either of the 2 you mention but I do grow Agapanthus, freesia, Sparaxis, Crocosmia, Galtonia, Ornithogalum spp., Scadoxus, Cyrtanthus, etc. I'll be trying Haemanthus and others soon thanks to John Ingram plus try a hand at seed growing.

Love to hear about all of your successes with pot culture, bulb or not.


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RE: How about a SA bulb thread?

Ferraria crispa

This incredible iridaceous plant from South Africa, grows wonderful in our garden. Planted in full sun and will drained soil. Spreads very easily. The undulate tan flowers are spotted and streaked with deep chestnut, it's hard to describe; you need to see it they only last a couple days. For anyone in So CA UC Irvine has them at their plant and S.F. Bulb sale.

Bye,
Stella Blue


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RE: How about a SA bulb thread?

Safari-o-t-m,
Thanks for reminding me of some of the South Africans that tolerate growing outside in this climate. Guess we have to include glads in the list too. Galtonias and Crocosmias grow in-ground here. Agapanthus, also, but I tend to think of it as an east African. I grow Haemanthus (multiflorus?) in pot but it might do in-groung here because it goes dormant in the winter. The dormancy seems to result from drying out so I'm not sure it would work.
Stella Blue, I've thought of trying Ferrarias. Do you know how they do in pots? How tall do they get?
I'm still hoping some of you experts can answer the questions in my first post.


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RE: How about a SA bulb thread?

mrmanchac, I am going to dig out a book of mine and do some research for you on your questions, will post that later because time is short today.
I do want to clarify something, though ... you made a statement that "most SA shrubs and trees are difficult to impossible to grow outside of Mediterranean-type climates". NO, NOT SO. The only region in South Africa which has a Mediterranean climate is the small southwestern Cape area. The rest of the country varies greatly - there is coastal Natal (lush and green like Florida), there is the great Karoo (arid and comparable to Nevada/Arizona), the Transvaal highveld (rather like East Texas, in my opinion). I can come up with more comparisons, but don't have time until tomorrow.
Perhaps other South Africans can pitch in and help explain how vast the range of growing conditions really is? I lived in S.A. until 16 years ago, so am speaking from personal experience. Delina


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RE: How about a SA bulb thread?

There are so many great S. A. bulbs that there can be a whole new thread. I know I grow as many as possible. From my other postings you can see what I have and also what I can get. I am surprised that more Clivia species are not available. They are rather reasonably priced here in S. Ca at certain wholesalers. Also, there are some SA bulbs that are quite hardy. I know that Schizostylis, Gladiolus, and I have had an agapanthus that overwintered in Ohio in several locations. So, not all hardy bulbs are tulips. I even have had Ipheion overwinter in Ohio (oops that actually S. American, oh well it is still a good bulb).
John Ingram


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RE: How about a SA bulb thread?

Delina, you are, of course, quite correct in pointing out the varied climates of SA. My point is that one can grow a pot of bulbs in a NY apartment or on a windowsill in Manitoba whereas large trees and shrubs are too difficult to handle in these circumstances. But your comments are intrigueing. I can't think of any SA trees or shrubs that are grown in this area (which would be somewhat between the highveld and coastal Natal in your description.) Possible exception is the Gardenia (often called Cape Jasmine) which flourishes here. When you find the time could you suggest some that I might try? Thank you.


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RE: How about a SA bulb thread?

hi again, mrmanchac! Yes, the South African bulbs are my favorites too, for exactly the reason you mention ... one can still enjoy them by bringing indoors for part of their annual cycle (if one's climate doesn't agree with them). In my own case, I have very little indoor space available so am sharing my bathroom through this winter with my two beloved Clivias!
Re. South African native shrubs and perennials for your climate ... you seem to be living in Louisiana? How about you post a different thread "South African shrubs and perennials for Louisiana gardens" and then you tell us what your climate is like, specify to how low temps drops in winter, how much rainfall you get, in which seasons it falls, and so on. Then we can all pitch in and make suggestions, it should be an interesting thread. Delina


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RE: How about a SA bulb thread?

Thank goodness, I was beginning to think there was nowhere for me to discuss my passion - South African Bulbs. I live in Cornwall UK, and the climate is cool and almost permenantly damp, but I grows lots of these little beauties.
Dieramas (about 25 varieties and species) Moraea, Tigridia, Tritonia, Galtonia, Sparaxis, Cypella and species Gladiolus. Mainly Iridacaea and I have been so disapointed that the Iris formum seems to have nothing but bearded iris. I find the secret for me is the drainage, and the planting depth. We very rarely get frost, but we don't get a lot of heat in the summer either.

Stella Blue, with reference to Ferraria, I have heard it smells rather unpleasant, is this true? It is a plant I would love to have a go at growing, any chance of some seed?


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RE: How about a SA bulb thread?

mrmanchac
While knowing little about Louisiana's climate (mainly how much frost you get) and from what I know of the USDA zones there are many SA shrubs / trees which you could grow:
SHRUBS
Barleria Obtusa - Bush Violet
Bauhinia galpini - Pride of De Kaap
Bauhinia tormentosa
Buddleja salvifolia - Sagewood
Coleonema pulchrum - Confetti Bush
Crotalaria capensis - Cape Rattlepod
Dodonaea angustifolia 'purpurea' Cape Sand Olive
Ensete ventricosum - African Wild Banana , Musa Banana
Ericas ( more than 600 species)
Euryops pectinantus
Hypericum revolutum - Curry Bush (also dwarf the tricolour hypericum)
Leucadendron sessile - Tolbos - many different species
Leucospermum reflexum - Pincushions - many different ones
Mackaya Bella - Forest Bell Bush
Melianthus major - Touch-Me-Not
Ochna serrulata - Carnival Bush
Polygala myrifolia / P. virgata - September Bush
Protea - lots of them are frost hardy
Tecomaria capensis - Cape Honeysuckle (red , yellow , orange)

TREES
Acasia Karroo - Sweet Thorn
Bolusanthus speciosus - Tree Wisteria
Burchellia bubalina - Wild Pomegranate
Calodendrum capense - Cape Chestnut
Celtis africana - Camdeboo Stinkwood
Combretum erthrophyllum River Bushwillow
Cussonia panniculata - Kiepersol
Dias cotinifolia - Pompon Tree
Dombeya rotundifolia var. rotundifolia - Blossum Tree , Common Wild Pear
Erythrina lysistemon Common Coral Tree
Greyia sutherlandii - Natal Bottlebrush also G. radlkoferi (Transvaal Bottlebrush)
Harpephyllum caffrum - Wild Plum
Kigelia africana - Sausage Tree
Kiggellaria africana - Wild Peach
Olea europaea subsp. africana - Wild Olive
Podocarpus henkelii - Henkel's Yellowwood
Rauvolfia caffra - Quinine Tree
Rhus pendulina - White karree
Rhus lancea - Karree
Rothmannia capensis - Cape Gardinia
Schotia Brachypetala - Weeping Boer-Bean , Tree Fuchsia
Spathodea campanulata - African Flame , A.Torch or A.Tulip Tree
Strelitzia nicolai and S. reginae - Natal Wild Banana and Crane Flower
Vergilia oroboides - Keurboom

This list ranges from smallish shrubs to big trees as I don't know what exactly your requirements are. Of course there are many more which I have not mentioned. They can all take light frost to heavy frost (especialy when established). Light snow for a day or 2 should also be ok but I am not sure about more than this as we very seldom (if ever) have extended snowfalls except in some isolated and / or very high mountain areas where these plants do not naturally occur. I suggest searching through the Google database for more information to see if you like the plants and if they meet your requirements as regards size etc before spending any money on purchasing any of the them.


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RE: Ferraria crispa smell unpleasant true or false?

DeeDs,

Regarding your post: Stella Blue, with reference to Ferraria, I have heard it smells rather unpleasant, is this true?
It is a plant I would love to have a go at growing, any chance of some seed?

I cant really give you a truthful answer to the smell issue, other than I have never noticed.
But NEXT year when they bloom I will pay particular attention and get back to you.

I have just started seriously gathering seeds in the past year from our garden. So if you can direct me in the seed collection. But if seeds = bulbs, I can send you some. . I would have to check into what is needed for proper shipment.

Right now the Ferraria crispa in my garden have the old growth leaves on them with the spent flower stalks most are not completely dried.

Stella Blue


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RE: How about a SA bulb thread?

Lovely list Garrickza. Keep'em coming...RJ


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RE: How about a SA bulb thread?

The Complete Gardening book by Sima Eliovson (South African Gardening) includes lists of bulbs growing in various environments. It can be bought second hand. I bought mine through ABE books http://www.abebooks.com/

There is also another books by Sima Eliovson on S.A. gardening: Shrubs, Trees & Climbers. Both books are wonderful as they list S.A. plants which thrive in different climates along with descriptions, cultivation etc.


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RE: How about a SA bulb thread?

Re your Lachenalia.
L. mutabilis are pale blue at the base with protruding yellow inner segments. The apex of the flower is electric blue.
L.aloides var quadricolor has flowers each comprising four colours, reddish orange at the base, shading to yellow with bright green gibbosities. Inner segments yellow or yellowish green with purplish maroon tips.
From The Lachenalia Handbook by G.D. Duncan.


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RE: How about a SA bulb thread?

While we are with Sima Eliovson, there are more:
- 'Bulbs for the Gardener', 1967. This one includes exotic bulb, too
- 'Wild Flowers of Southern Africa', All-in-one guide to shrubs, trees, succulents, bulbs, annuals, perennials - how to grow and itentify them, (1st edition 1955)sixth edition 1980, fully revised with new colour illustrations.

I was lucky enough to find these in a second-hand book shop recently, haven't had a chance to read them right through yet.
I believe she also wrote one on Proteas.
By the way, her 'Complete Gardening Book' was the first gardening book I ever owned!

Maddy


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RE: How about a SA bulb thread?

  • Posted by bahia SF Bay Area (My Page) on
    Thu, Mar 13, 03 at 21:52

Garrick,

While I don't live in Louisiana either, I can tell you that many of the plants on that list probably wouldn't last all that long in Louisiana. Weeklong bad freezes can occasionally kill most all subtropicals there, and the best success is with plants that can handle the extreme summer heat and humidity along with the occasionally severe winter with temps down into the high teens/low 20'sF, certainly below -6 Celsius. So you won't see many of those plants except those which love summer sauna type conditions. I don't think there would be any Leucadendrons/Leucospermums/Proteas that would handle these conditions either, along with the high summer rainfall amounts in combination with heat and high humidity.

Some of the heat lovers such as Erythrina or Strelitzia can be grown as container plants there, but S. nicholii is not a safe bet to survive 10 years if planted out in the ground, even though die back plants such as Hedychiums, Musa, Cannas, and other tropicals which will return from the roots are commonly seen.


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RE: How about a SA bulb thread?

South African Wild Flowers for the Garden, 1955/1965 ed. by Sima Eliovson is a very fine gardening book, large format, detailed descriptions and information on culture of each variety from annuals, perennials, bulbs, shrubs/trees to succulents. She includes garden plans, lists for different climates and uses, how to collect seed and more. Plus photographs, some color. I highly recommend it, but being out of print you must find a used copy.


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RE: How about a SA bulb thread?

Clearly there are enough of us to merit an ongoing discussion on this topic. Here in Southern California, South African plants are staples, some even treated with disrespect as being too common (Agapanthus is planted in median strips).

I have recently moved onto a 6 acre property once owned by collectors of SA bulbs, which have now naturalized (run amok?) As each variety comes into bloom, I scan the internet for an ID. Am very grateful to have found you all at this perfect time.

We enjoy a Mediterranean climate, on the dry side, and Salvias thrive here, also roses, but not tulips or ferny things. Clivia love it, and there are a number of odd ones coming up around the property, some with leaves 8" wide.

Of course I will be delighted to share the wealth as soon as I know the name of it. The previous owners belonged to The Internation Bulb Society and may have got many unusual bulbs from them. I'll assemble a list for you of what has already bloomed.

Anyone for Chasmanthe?

I thought not.


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RE: How about a SA bulb thread?

bahia I agree that most of the plants listed by Garrick would not make it in Louisiana. However some SA plants show remarkable adaptability. Some nurseries in the Carolinas have found Buddleja salvifolia to be fully zone 7 hardy and tolerant of that climate.

SA plants are almost always either adapted to a wet-winter, dry-summer or the opposite pattern. A few of the dry-winter, wet-summer species tolerate the opposite pattern, or year round moisture like we have on the East Coast, because they come from marshy areas...witness the kniphofias which can be a weed on both the Pacific Coast of California and in my Virginia garden! (well, self sowing at least) Few plants, though, are going to show that kind of adaptability.

I don't know which proteas are cultivated in Florida or the Gulf Coast but it is going to be hard to find many that can tolerate the sauna-like conditions in summer AND the potentially wet winters, when they come from a climate with bone-dry winters. I think phytophthora could easily set in, even if they survive the extreme swings in temperature. Johannesburg, for example, can have moderate frosts in winter (by subtropical standards, down to the upper 20s), but is very mild in summer compared to Florida. The summers in Johannesburg are like summers in coastal Maine and the winters like those in extreme southern New Mexico (with less frost)...in short, it must be nice!

I have experimented with quite a few South African geophytes in my Virginia garden and had plenty of informative failures but a number of successes. Watsonia aletroides, for example, comes from marshy, clay soil areas of the Eastern Cape. The soil probably remains moist throughout a good portion of the rain-free summer...so these plants do not have a problem with our moist summer. Also it is pretty frost tolerant. Although it wants to start growing and flowering in winter, it is willing to slow down and wait till spring. It has now flowered two years in a row. Still this is an exception, I lost a bunch of other mediterrean adapted plants I tried from Jim Duggan's nursery. It's remarkable what a valiant struggle some of them made, growing 2 or more inches during the mild periods of our winter only to get repeated nipped back during freezes. In all cases, the _bulb_ itself is remarkable tough, tougher than anybody in California will ever have the chance to find out. For example Lachenalias made a couple attempts to regrow after days of below freezing with nights in the single digits...however can this be considered a zone 7 or even zone 8 plant - well, not if your zn 7 or zn 8 has regular freezes at all. It is simply that the plant's growth pattern can never adapt to a cold winter. As the days get shorter, they have to start growing. Naturally, summer-wet, summer-growing plants from Natal and the Drakensberg are more successful here, like Dieramas. Ellen Hornig's Seneca Hill Nursery has a good, hardy selection of those.


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RE: How about a SA bulb thread?

I got a Buddleja salvifolia from the Raulston arboretum in Raleigh last year and it is coming back nicely. They said it has proven reliable here as has cape gardenia and pomegranates.

I think many of the irids and amaryllids will prove to do well here outside once we figure out how to cultivate them. The problem is keeping things from rotting in winter from the cold+water combo. Nerines for example, if they get too cold and get rained on they turn to mush in a jiffy.

Chasmanthe, if you have extras of some of those pesky bulbs I'll be happy to help give them new homes[GRIN]. We have a bear of a time finding them here in the east coast.

RJ


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Chasmanthe

You might have trouble finding them because, of all the plants I tried from Jim Duggan, it was the weakest grower here. It tried to restart after one freeze in late November/early Dec, say 20F or so, and then died in the next. It seemed to have the poorest foliar and bulb hardiness of the lot. Mind you, I don't know what would have happened to any of those if I'd tried to fool them by planting them in spring - somehow I would have to have prevented them from growing the whole winter when their programming from life in Southern California would have been telling them to start. I sometimes wonder if this is done with the Western Cape bulbs that are sold in spring by hardware stores and the likes of McClure & Zimmerman et. al. For example I've always seen Corn Lilies (Ixias) sold in spring, but to my knowledge this is a winter blooming Mediterranean-cycle genus. Maybe they have found a strain that will persist well in a wet summer situation. Usually those are sold as "tender bulbs" to be lifted in freezing weather, but what I'm saying is I don't even think that would really work because the pattern of rainfall and temperature here is incorrect no matter how well you protect the bulb from extreme cold. If you were to grow Chasmanthes in NC you'd either have to have them in a greenhouse, start them in spring and hope they don't mind, or hope for a rare winter with almost no freezes. But I agree, they are spectacular even if they are weedy.


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RE: How about a SA bulb thread?

I don't have a greenhouse per se but my unheated garage has huge casement windows that face south and I keep many unusual bulbs from zone 8 and higher in there. The bulbs do just fine in pots and then take off when I bring them out in March on wheeled carts that can be rolled back in case of too much rain. Many of the winter growers can be cultivated this way.

RJ


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RE: How about a SA bulb thread?

My Ferraria crispa have a somewhat unpleasant smell, but the stunning almost black flowers more than make up for that. I'm hoping for a lot of seeds this year - anyone want to trade?

Cheers~
Susi

Here is a link that might be useful: San Diego Horticultural Society


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RE: How about a SA bulb thread?

Chasmanthe - What a wonderful gift to get with your property! Post lots of pictures and we'll help you with identification (and celebrate with you).


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RE: How about a SA bulb thread?

Spike, could you open a SA Bulb thread please?

There is a definite interest in this and I know this request posting was put up a long time ago, I believe the request is being brought up again.

Bulbs are easy to mail in exchanges and there are so many lovely South African bulb plants which we could distribute around if only we could find the source for them. As an example these are equisite but many are very hard to find:

Agapanthus, Aristea, Babiana,, Bilbergia, Bulbinella, Clivia, Crinum Moorei, Cyrtanthus, Dierama, Dietes, Eucomis, Dietes vegeta, Galtonia, Scadoxus, Kniphofia, Moreaea Spathulata, Nirine Filifolia, Nerine Mastoniorum, Ornithogalum saundersiae, Ranunculus, Scilla Natalensis, Tulbaghia fragrns, Tulbaghia violacea, Watsonia, Zantedeschia Pentlandii, Zantedeschia Rehmanii,and oh, so many more!

Please?

Joanmary


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RE: South African bulbs belong in this forum

Joanmary,
To me it seems that we already have a perfect place to discuss South African bulbs, namely this forum! There has been many threads dealing with the subject, and there always will be, because they make such a significant contribution to the flora of South Africa.
All you need to do is to post your thread here, titled with the word bulb or bulbous in it. Anyone on GardenWeb who does a search for South African bulbs will find it because those words appear in so many of our postings here.

To encourage participation from regular visitors on the other GardenWeb bulb forums, you can post a thread in those other forums to remind readers that South African bulbous plants, their cultivation, etc. is discussed here on The South African Native Plants forum. Hope you visit here often!


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RE: How about a SA bulb thread?

I've usually lurked here but guess I had better start joining in. Don't want to lose this forum at all.

So, have just potted up for the winter (Manitoba zone 2/3) the following. Crocrosmia, diarama, the tall cape pig lily (arum to rest of the world) sprekia,nerine, some callas, alstromeria (not from ZA but still) Lost all my watsonia a couple of years ago -sob sob - Have started cuttings of silver tree a couple of times but no luck. Red hot pokers can stand our -40C cold if well mulched as long as we have good snow cover.

All the little bulbs like ixia etc. I treat like glads. Dig up after the frost has nipped them and store in peat moss in cool basement. I start them again in Feb, to be sure of getting bloom.

Cheers
Ginny aka inanda


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RE: How about a SA bulb thread?

Hi Gang,

I am happy to write about South African bulbs here in this very forum, and I've written about Crinum in this forum. This is a great forum.

But, I gotta tell you all, I don't get the feedback from the "rabid bulb nuts" that I know are out there. And, one more limitation of bulbs for this forum is that this forum is limited to South Africa. Fair enough, but that eliminates a whole lot of bulbs.

I think I could keep visiting this forum (it does get sleepy sometimes) and participate in a new forum as well. The new forum clearly could not be limited to South African bulbs--there are way to many other bulbs to enjoy that somehow don't show up often on the regular bulb forum.

Some of my favorite bulbs are rainlilies--they need warmer climates and are not from Africa. But, they sure do appeal to folks with year-round rainy weather and mild winters. Though South Africa has extraordinary diversity in bulbs, it does not have rain lilies.

Conroe Joe

Here is a link that might be useful: Fadjar's Rainlilies


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RE: How about a SA bulb thread?

I've had really good luck with Ferraria crispa and they ARE mysterious. The scent is startling, but I really had to get down close to pick it up, then...wow!


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RE: How about a SA bulb thread?

  • Posted by JimmB Michigan US (My Page) on
    Tue, Nov 30, 04 at 14:43

Hi all,

Ferraria crispa has come up in this thread a number of times. I can't grow it in Michigan; this far north I mostly grow bulbs in pots. But two years ago I photographed this one (click below) on the West Coast (SA) near Yzerfontein. It's unique!

JB

Here is a link that might be useful: Ferraria Crispa Photograph


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RE: How about a SA bulb thread?

Hmm - I've had a question posted on this forum about SA bulbs for three days now with no responses whatsoever - if that's how low the traffic is for this kind of plant, I can see where Spike might not be interested in starting yet another thread.


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RE: How about a SA bulb thread?

  • Posted by nuggy Ireland (My Page) on
    Wed, Dec 22, 04 at 1:07

I've been lurking but felt I had to post. This is a great thread! I couldn't agree more that the bulb forum is dominated with daffs and tulips

WOW JimmB, what a fantastic pic of that Ferraria. I am fairly new to South African bulbs and pics like that really help me. Now I want one! I managed to find one Watsonia plant last year at a garden centre (orange flower and produces bulbils). I planted the bulbils straight away and 1 month later they are coming up. I have Sparaxis which comes up every year as does my Tigridia. I grew Anomathica Laxa from seed this year and at present it is in bud (outside). Not bad for Irish weather. Agapanthus appears every year too.

There are so many wonderful South African bulbs out there that people like me would love to know about. And as someone else mentioned, bulbs are easier to post for swaps etc.

I have posted on another thread to ask if anyone knows anything about Cape Bulbs and Seeds online company in South Africa. They seem to have a good selection but need to know if they are reputable.

Once again, this is a great thread and much needed.

All the best

Sue


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RE: How about a SA bulb thread?

  • Posted by JimmB Michigan US (My Page) on
    Mon, Dec 27, 04 at 20:47

Sue,

Cape Bulb and Seeds is indeed reliable. I've been to their retail outlet, and arranged to have things shipped to me in the states. They arrived in excellent shape when promised.

You can also try these folks: http://www.africanbulbs.com/text/view/2337.html

They're less well known in this forum, and recently moved from the Eastern Cape to the southern cape. They're not set up for credit cards, which is a major limitation. But they have a great selection of healthy bulbs.

Cheers,

JB


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RE: How about a SA bulb thread?

  • Posted by nuggy Ireland (My Page) on
    Thu, Dec 30, 04 at 18:38

Thank you JimmB. I did some searches on Cape Bulbs and Seeds and they do seem very good. My only problem is, as you say, they are not set up for Credit Cards. I have been in touch with them and they have suggested I e-mail my credit card number divided into two separate e-mails. What with all the fraud on the internet, I cannot allow myself to do payment this way. It's such a shame really - these companies would benefit so much if credit card payments were available.

Thanks and a Happy New (Growing) Year to you.

Sue


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RE: How about a SA bulb thread?

  • Posted by JimmB Michigan US (My Page) on
    Thu, Jan 13, 05 at 6:51

Sue,

I call them - unless you're with one of the expensive long distance carriers (read AT&T or MCI), calls shouldn't cost more than 12-15 cents a minute. You can email them the order, then call in the cc number.

Cheers,

JB


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