Albuca superfast germinators also albuca hardiness
Wed, 19 Mar 2008 18:06:23 PDT
Hi Linda,
Nothing special for the albuca, except that it gets a lot of sun,  and I try 
not to let it get overwhelmed by nearby plants.  It is  near a street corner, 
in a section of garden that has to be protected with  fabric tied to fencing 
in winter from our town's salt throwing trucks that seem  to emerge at the 
sight of a single snowflake.  I'd say the bulbs, which are  fairly flattish in 
shape, are about an inch, if even that, below the  surface.  Soil around this 
house is probably neutral to somewhat basic, as  it is full of marble and near an 
old marble quarry.  Maple tree roots need  to be chopped out periodically, 
since my wife and I live on the second floor of  my folks house (if I owned it, 
there would be no maple trees!). The patch of  albuca can get dry in summer, 
but I do water as needed.  I sometimes hand  pollinate when they flower among 
the different plants, they do seem to set more  seed than if one leaves it up 
to mother nature to do the job.  As with  other seeds, I refrigerate them a few 
months after harvest, albuca seeds will  last much longer in the fridge than 
at room temps.  
When I worked at the NYBG, I grew Delosperma "congestum" from seed I got  
from Panayoti, it did very well in a sand bed, but was prone to rot off in  
garden soil.  Amazing plant when it is covered with white eyed screaming  yellow 
flowers. It is hardier than most other mesembs if well drained in winter  
(though like the others it likes water in summer).  I have some now in a  pot on a 
terrace, which I bring in when temps drop below the teens, since it  does get 
rained on a lot in the winter.  
Zone three might be pushing it for even Albuca shawii, it would be really  
interesting to see if it survives there ---I don't think I could, either :  )  . 
I'd think your best chances would be with species that grow on the  
Drakensberg escarpment, look for anything that grows at 3000 meters or above in  the SA 
field guides.  Does Galtonia candicans survive outdoors for  you?
Hope the info helps,

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