cold hardy South African winter growers?

Charles Powne
Sun, 18 Dec 2016 20:13:51 PST
Hello Nick,

I grow South African native species in my front yard, so your question is one I’ve spent more than a little time on. Sadly, winter blooming South African bulbs generally come from areas with much milder winters than what you or I can provide. These plants bloom in winter because that's the only time when there’s any rainfall, never mind that the summers are very hot and extremely dry. According to the information at the Annie’s Annuals website, your moraea is restricted to zones 9b to 11, which is typical for bulbs growing in a Mediterranean climate. You mentioned having a low of 20°F on Friday; that’s the low end zone 9, but it gets a lot colder there in Durham, NC. So my answer to your question is that there aren’t any winter blooming South African bulbs you can grow outside year ‘round in North Carolina. However, if you look to the Drakensberg you’ll find a climate that more closely aligns with your own, and plenty of interesting summer bloomers that will thrive in your garden. Either that, or grow your winter-flowering bulbs in a greenhouse and then dry them out — and keep them dry — in the summer. That’s what I do.

Charles Powne
USDA zone 8b

On Dec 17, 2016, at 3:17 PM, wrote:

> Date: Sat, 17 Dec 2016 09:49:42 -0500
> From: Nicholas plummer <>
> To: Pacific Bulb Society <>
> Subject: [pbs] cold hardy South African winter growers?
> Message-ID:
> 	<>
> Content-Type: text/plain; charset=UTF-8
> The Moraea polystachya planted in my garden has been blooming all autumn,
> despite several frosts.  I'm not sure if it will flower again after several
> nights in the mid 20s and a low of 20 F (-6.5 C) on Friday morning, but the
> foliage still looks good.  This is its third winter planted in the ground.
> Are there other South African winter growers that exhibit similar hardiness
> and would be worth trying here in Zone 7b?  Ideally, they'd be plants that
> bloom closer to the beginning of the growing season, so I'd be more certain
> of getting flowers before a hard freeze.
> Any suggestions?
> Nick Plummer
> Durham, North Carolina, Zone 7

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