Leo A. Martin leo@possi.org
Fri, 12 Sep 2008 15:55:53 PDT
Diana wrote

> Does anyone have experience growing South African oxalis in the southern
> states?  I often send orders to the south, and wonder how they will do in
> the winters there.

Here in central Arizona, the winter-growing Oxalis perform wonderfully.
They just love our moderate-temperature sunny days with low humidity and
our very cool nights with occasional frost.

My only challenges are keeping them moist enough and keeping the birds out
of them. A standard 3 1/4" square rose pot dries out here in just a day or
so, even in the winter, and I don't have time to water that often. I now
plant them in large, deep containers so they retain water longer.

I set up some benches near my front door against the courtyard wall so I
can see them and it's easy to water them. Last season's problem was my dog
realizing he could jump onto the bench and escape over the wall. In the
process he knocked down and emptied lots of pots. I still remember the
look on his face when I took down the bench and his escape route was

I grow them under 30% shade cloth to keep the birds out. I would prefer
less shade but that's what I have. When this shade cloth wears out I will
replace it with 10%. I don't like to use what is sold as bird netting
because it catches lizards and snakes by the neck and they die before I
find them. If I don't cover them the birds will remove all the soil from
the pots and scatter the plants around, after which they die.

Some of the early growers like O. meissneri have already started growing.
They do this every year. It's still far too hot to put them outside so I
must keep them inside in a window. Unfortunately I just can't give them
enough light indoors so they get very leggy. At least they bloom. When
it's cool enough for them to go outside I cut them to the ground and they
resprout, looking good. Albuca spiralis and an unnamed tiny Albuca with
single upfacing flowers are also on this schedule.

Leo Martin
Phoenix Arizona USA

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