Archives, Lachenalia and such

don journet
Sat, 29 Nov 2003 04:16:07 PST
Hi Joe,
           Lachenalia hardiness would probably be difficult to define as a blanket
statement without leaving a certain margin for variability and interpretation of
zoning figures. A protracted 25 F in an area that usually experiences high humidity
might result in water particles in the air falling as quite a heavy deposit of ice
crystals. This I feel could affect the surface cells on the exposed leaves. Also as
this temperature is below the freezing point of water the soil will freeze to
varying depths if the low temperature is sustained. Here in south eastern Australia
at low altitudes the lowest temperatures experienced generally do not last for more
than a few hours around sun rise. As frosts generally occur on clear nights the
mornings usually warm up quite quickly after sun rise. If one looks at the pattern
of frost on the areas that have both trees and grassed areas there is a distinct
tendency for the trees to prevent ice crystals falling on the areas under the tree
overhang. Thus it is possible for us to place beds or pots under the northern aspect
of the trees and gain protection. That is not to say that water that is raised up,
allowing cold air all round the receptacle, will not gain a thin layer of ice but I
am sure that it is quite considerably less than out in the open.
     In summary my plants given a little protection in an area that experiences -5 C
(22 F) all survive but move the pots into open garden and the leaves and flowers are
seriously damaged.
     Incidentally I can also have problems at the other end of the scale with bulbs
getting cooked when temperatures exceed 40 C.
     I hope this helps sort out the conundrum.

Don Journet
Bacchus Marsh
Zone 9 wrote:

> Hi,
> I'm new to your list.  I've been having a wonderful time reading through the
> archives, though I could not get the automated search feature to work (so I
> downloaded everything and have been slogging through it).  I really enjoyed some
> of the comments from the members, including comments about pronouncing Latin
> names of plants.
> I grow some southeast-USA type bulbs and enjoy them immensely.  Hymenocallis
> is a favorite species for me as well as Crinum and Zephyranthes (and related
> genera).  I'm not on the Pacific Rim, but grew up there and enjoy reading posts
> from your members.  If I get organized next summer I'll collect seed from Z.
> drummondii for SASE, it is so plentiful locally.
> After searching the archives I'm still confused about Lachenalia and cold.
> Silverhill Seeds claims the seeds they sell should endure quite a bit of cold,
> and they rate all of their Lachenalia offerings "zone 8" in the 2003 printed
> catalog.  On the other hand, others have advised me (from actual experience)
> that the plants shouldn't be expected to take more than 25 F (and that only for
> a short duration), but there are a few tales of surviving down to 20 F or so
> (but the flowers were surely lost for the season).
> Is there any consensus out there on general cold-hardiness of this group?
> Are there any forms more cold hardy than others?
> Cordially,
> Joe
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