Lachenalia aloides quadricolor

Jim McKenney
Fri, 04 Oct 2013 14:15:06 PDT
Dennis, I live in a climate in which, while not as cold as yours,  Lachenalia are useless as garden plants. I'm inclined to say that they are also useless as house plants in such climates. 

What they need is something most of us in these climates can't provide: very cool to cold growing conditions. Bright light and, at least in the early stages of growth, cool to cold conditions will give good results. 

Room temperatures in most centrally heated houses will probably be too warm - even on a windowsill. 

In this climate, a well-protected cold frame might  be ideal. As Mike pointed out, they will survive light frosts  In fact, I once left a tray of a variety of Lachenalia outside overnight during a freeze and was surprised that. later in the day, after the foliage had defrosted (it was frozen hard as was the surface of the soil in the pots). the foliage showed no damage and the plants went on to grow well.  

I think I'm on safe ground when I say that this prescription for cool to cold growing conditions and bright light works for most bulbs from southern Africa. I had no success at all with these plants until I tried them in a very carefully managed cold frame. 

Jim McKenney
Montgomery Couinty, Maryland, USA, USDA zone 7 where Sternbergia lutea is putting on a great show this year, and in the cold frame the Massonia (thanks Roy)  and Brunsvigia radulosa (thanks Ellen)  are already producing new foliage. 

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