Littonia modesta

Mary Sue Ittner
Fri, 08 Oct 2004 07:44:35 PDT
Dear Mark,

Littonia is a summer rainfall South African. I grow mine much like Gloriosa 
and it behaves much the same. For me in Coastal Northern California with 
heavy rainfall in winter and cool summers that means that I leave it in the 
greenhouse in its pot, mostly dry during winter dormancy so I cannot attest 
to its hardiness. In the spring I start watering again and it comes up 
about a month later. It is a robust climber so needs support and a large 
container. Right now mine plant has yellowing leaves and seed pods and is 
ready to be left for the winter.

Rob Hamilton grows it in Australia and contributed photos to our wiki page:…
I think Cathy Craig grows it in Southern California.

I am quite fond of my plant which just appeared one year, no doubt a result 
of my reusing the soil when seeds I had sown never came up and I gave up on 
them. I've not had a lot of luck with seeds of Littonia and Gloriosa, but 
maybe wasn't patient enough. Angelo translated a very interesting article 
on Gloriosa for the ABA journal and maybe he could speak to how to 
germinate these seeds.

I haven't tried Littonia outside because my experiments with Gloriosa 
outside haven't been successful although I know others have different 
experiences. Rachel told me that Gloriosa could tolerate winter rainfall in 
Cape Town, but the ones I planted out never made it. I put a pot on my deck 
one summer and between the wind and the fog those plants looked so unhappy 
that I finally moved them to the greenhouse where I had another pot that 
looked so much better. When I lived in Stockton where I  had hot summers 
they were quite happy in a pot outside.

My husband tied strings this year from the ceiling of the greenhouse for my 
Littonia, Gloriosa superba, and Sandersonia aurantiaca to grow on and the 
Littonia and Gloriosa were soon blooming way up there. I would have needed 
to get a chair to stand on to photograph them. What supports do others use 
for climbing plants?

I hope this helps.

Mary Sue

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