Mary Sue Ittner
Sat, 05 Jun 2010 09:31:48 PDT

It's important to remember that some Agapanthus are deciduous and 
some evergreen. Most are from summer rainfall areas and a few from 
winter rainfall areas. Species growing in the southwest Cape are no 
doubt in the ancestry of most of  the plants growing in California. 
They are evergreen, winter rainfall. They are often planted and 
generally easy to grow and bloom in California  (if not eaten by the 
deer) and perhaps for some of us a bit boring for that reason. I am 
sure these evergreen hybrids and species we grow in California 
wouldn't be hardy as even in a colder than usual winter here the 
leaves get all mushy. On the other hand on our trip to South Africa 
in January we saw species blooming in the Drakensberg Mountains 
(summer rainfall) where it gets quite cold in winter.  It was hard 
not to be impressed with many of them because looking at them often 
included a lovely view of land below. These species would be unlikely 
to thrive in California, especially if not watered in summer when it 
is dry. I have an unknown deciduous species that each year appears in 
early summer but never blooms although the friend who gave it to me 
has a better watered and warmer summer garden and hers bloom. So once 
again it is helpful to learn more about where the plant is found in 
the wild to see if you can create the conditions that will keep it 
happy. We also saw a species growing with Cyrtanthus in a lower 
elevation area in the Eastern Cape where they were growing on what 
looked like a rock cliff face, impossible to get close enough for  a 
good photo. It would be impossible to recreate those kind of 
conditions. Obviously attention to drainage would be critical.

Linda, you would probably have more luck with a summer rainfall 
species from a high elevation. Agapanthus africanus is a winter 
rainfall plant that blooms best in the wild after fires. It's the one 
I expect that is a parent of the ones we grow in California left in 
the ground year round.

Cameron McMaster who is a member of our list collects and sell seeds. 
He'd be a good resource I'd think as he could give you information 
about where the seed was collected and he really knows the Eastern 
Cape as many of us can testify. Some of the species occur over a 
broad range of habitats and elevations so where they were collected 
could make a difference in their hardiness.

Mary Sue

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