Eucomis in-ground hardiness

Ellen Hornig
Fri, 19 Oct 2007 08:23:54 PDT
As Glen Pace points out,a  lot of eucomis do fine in cold areas with 
reliable snow cover.  Here, one of two patches of E. vandermerweii came 
through last winter in the open garden and bloomed beautifully this summer, 
despite the fact that like everyone else we had a totally bizarre winter, 
were out weeding in shirtsleeves in early January, and had some hard freezes 
before our famous 10 feet of snow in 10 days provided insurance for the rest 
of the winter.  The other patch disappeared conmpletely, as did Cameron 
McMaster's E. autumnalis 'Bedford Form', which tries to be evergreen (never 
a good indication of hardiness).  E. comosa 'Peace Candles' seems 
indestructible everywhere, even in the salty, sandy roadside garden, and the 
various purple-leaved pink-flowered plants I have (mostly my own seedlings), 
variously described as hybrids of E. autumnalis, E. pallidiflora, and E. 
comosa, are positively rampant.  E. bicolor is grand once it comes up - it's 
a late emerger  -and E. montana hangs in there and occaisonally blooms, but 
I haven't yet figured out how to make it really happy.  One effort with E. 
humilis failed, but I should try it again, as it "ought" to be as hardy as 
the rest.  I'm keeping my E. schjiffii under wraps  -after 2 years, they 
still haven't really adapted to the northern hemisphere, though they're 
slowly getting there.

The other half of the equation for eucomis, I think, is reasonably cool 
summer temps (at night, anyway) and plenty of summer rainfall or watering. 
Remember that they come from a part of the world (eastern Cape) where 
virtually all of the rainfall, which is comparable to our annual 
precipitation here in Oswego, falls during the summer.

All this illustrates is the idiocy of using USDA hardiness zones for plants 
from climates very different from continental...


Ellen Hornig
Seneca Hill Perennials
3712 County Route 57
Oswego NY 13126 USA 

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