Albucas and other South African Hyacinthaceae

Mary Sue Ittner
Sat, 22 Mar 2008 20:27:43 PDT
I haven't found the winter rainfall Albuca species to do very well for me 
in my Northern California garden. I have a couple in pots and they often 
don't break dormancy. Some I put in the ground I never saw again. I'm 
assuming they might want more summer heat but I'm not sure. Ornithogalums 
are hit and miss too that way and Daubenya.  I'm happy that I can grow 
Massonia, Lachenalia, and Polyxena. Luckily I have a large enough 
collection of bulbs now that I no longer grieve the losses and just 
concentrated on the successes although I will admit to having tried some of 
the really pretty Ornithogalums and Daubenyas more than once. I have a 
couple of species of the latter that do come up, but so far haven't bloomed 
or grown very fast. There is only so much room in the greenhouse to put all 
the South African and South American species that wish for warmer summer 

As Linda wrote Albuca canadensis, syn. Albuca maxima, is definitely a 
winter rainfall species. Not too long ago I added some habitat pictures to 
the wiki of it. It really makes a statement in the wild. Also the name has 
been changed. I checked with John Manning on this and he confirmed this to 
be true in spite of it being named maxima in some books he had written 
rather recently. It is now considered Albuca canadensis which used to be 
the name for a yellow flowered species and which is a strange name for a 
South African species. I rather suspect this is going to be a change that 
is resisted as it is well known as Albuca maxima. I'd think if Linda is 
growing it in a container it might need a very large one eventually.…

Mary Sue

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