Climate (once again), was Re: Agapanthus

Burger, Steve
Tue, 15 Nov 2005 19:02:26 PST
I grow a lot of palms (a lot for a 7b location) and some of the factors that we have learned to consider are...

Soil texture - sand vs. clay

Winter wet/dry- many plants will survive cold if dry, make them wet and forget it.  Date palms have survived 6F when bone dry.  Not here, they fry below 20F.

Days over 85F (30C)- Many plants stop growing at this temp, others take off.

Nights over 70F (21C) I think this is a big issue as compared to out west.  We spend a good bit of the summer with dew points in the mid 70s.  Thus it doesn't get any cooler than that at night.  
Morning is soaking wet and warm.  Also night temps in this area often signify if a particular fungal disease will be a problem or not.  Some plants also don't grow well at all when nights are warmer than this (dormancy).  Some heat loving plants don't grow well below this temp.

Microclimates (we always look for the highest hill in the lowest region (frost pockets)

Exposure (East West North South Facing)-we've found some subtropicals/palms benefit from sun first thing to burn off frost...others desiccate if sunny before it warms above freezing.

Winter cover (high evergreen shade or a structure) can offer protection from radiational freezes...especially when one or two degrees is the difference between success and failure.

Anyway, so much to consider if your trying to stretch climate to suit your plant interests.  It is really amazing what folks can do to make it happen where it isn't supposed to.

Dallas, Ga 7b
Hot, Cold, Wet and droughty.  Red clay everywhere!

-----Original Message-----
[]On Behalf Of Rodger Whitlock
Sent: Tuesday, November 15, 2005 09:41 PM
Subject: [pbs] Climate (once again), was Re: Agapanthus

On 15 Nov 05 at 8:40, Boyce Tankersley wrote:

> I grew some of the Agapanthus africanus from Monrovia when I
> worked in Fort Worth Texas. They lived but never bloomed or
> thrived like I had seen them do in other parts of the country.
> I experienced the same frustrations when I was working on
> Galveston Island, Texas. I spent a lot of time with the Sunset
> Western Garden book to identify zones comparable to mine (with
> salt spray, etc.) and then selected new/different plants.
> Invariably they failed - I think due to relatively high night
> time temperatures/soil pathogens.

These remarks about the sensitivity of many plants to nuances 
of climate are always of interest, and point up that hardiness 
zones are only one factor, in many cases perhaps not the most 
important one.

In this case, one critical difference between Galveston and
any comparable location on the Pacific Slope is humidity. The
Pacific Slope simply isn't a very humid place, even in winter 
and esp. in the milder climates. Look at San Diego, for
example: it's next door to a full-blown desert.

I'll even assert that even with all the fog, northern
California locations aren't really *humid*.

Rodger Whitlock
Victoria, British Columbia, Canada
Maritime Zone 8, a cool Mediterranean climate

on beautiful Vancouver Island
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