Albuca nelsonii - frost free?

Paul T.
Thu, 12 Jan 2012 23:07:38 PST
At 01:01 PM 13/01/2012, you wrote:

>Several species of Albuca have bulbs with few 
>scales an in some others the center simply 
>disappears and the bulb looks like a doughnut.
>Albuca nelsoni is evergreen with the growing 
>season  in spring, summer and autumn, flowering 
>in late spring. Full sun, frost free conditions, 
>well drained soil. They clump well and some 
>forms are very fine foliage plants. Bulbs will 
>grow out of the the soil. Massive, they need large containers or the ground.
>Slight frosts burn the foliage starting at the 
>tips and then destroying the whole leaf.

Howdy All,

I am guessing that there must be variations in 
the hardiness of Albuca nelsonii if slight frost 
is supposed to destroy the whole leaf.  Mine in 
the garden are something like 10 years old, now 
multiplying up quite nicely.  They took -9'C in 
late winter this year without missing a beat, 
along with the normal -6s etc that we got at 
various times in the rest of winter.  I never 
realised until Alberto's message that these are 
supposed to be frost free..... mine most 
definitely are not, and most definitely are 
thriving where they are.  Mine get about half day 
of  full sun, with dappled shade in the afternoon 
from an open high Eucalypt.  I would more or less 
regard this as full sun, or well more than full 
sun for some of you in colder climates <big 
grin>.  They just don't quite get the heat of the afternoon.

As Alberto says, the bulbs are sitting on the 
surface of the soil, and therefore have no 
protection from soil "insulation".  Mine are 
fully exposed in winter as they are amongst roses 
that are pruned hard during winter and then offer 
not much cover at all.  In the case of mine, the 
bulbs themselves would definitely be exposed to 
freezing, and have never exhibited any major 
problems with them.  They keep their leaves 
during winter, although they do tend to look a 
little tatty by the end of it...... they do not 
seem to suffer from this at all and the main 
bulbs (now 3, currently ending their flowering 
for this year) flower every year, with offsets 
forming well in the last couple of years.  Bear 
in mind as well though that our night temps in 
winter always rise to well above freezing during 
the day, so the ground never stays permanently frozen.

Whether I somehow have a more cold tolerant form 
or not I don't know?  It's obviously worthwhile 
experimenting to find out, although I would 
definitely grow any seed for a while under more 
protected conditions and only experiment when you 
have enough to lose some. <grin>

All the best everyone.


Paul T.
Canberra, Australia - USDA Zone Equivalent approx. 8/9
Min winter temp -8 or -9°C. Max summer temp 40°C. 
Thankfully, maybe once or twice a year only.

Growing an eclectic collection of plants from all 
over the world including Aroids, Crocus, 
Cyclamen, Erythroniums, Fritillarias, Galanthus, 
Irises, Liliums, Trilliums (to name but a few) 
and just about anything else that doesn't move!! 

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