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Forum for palm lovers and creating a tropical look in heat challenged climates.

Lessertia (Sutherlandia) montana

Postby Ian in Sequim » Wed Jun 22, 2011 12:30 pm

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Does anyone have experience with this plant in the Northwest? I grew a few of them from seed years ago but never got around to trying it outdoors in Olympia. I suspect that on heavy clay soil with 70" of rain some winters they would not have done well - perhaps I'll have a better shot at growing it in Sequim. As with many Drakensberg species it may be hardy enough for us but the big question is can it handle the rainfall and lack of light that characterize our winters? And since South African woodies in general are guilty until proven innocent around here, I'm doubtful it will work out - but of course, one has to try. I have some germinating in the greenhouse now, and I'm hoping it will also grow from cuttings.

http://www.anniesannuals.com/plt_lst/lists/general/lst.gen.asp?prodid=3274

Re: Lessertia (Sutherlandia) montana

Postby davidmdzn7 » Wed Jun 22, 2011 3:07 pm

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I remember Robert in Seattle - who apparently moved to another space time continuum, or at least another planet - talked about having grown it and had pics of it blooming.
After a couple tries I got it to survive one winter, then die the next summer because of heat and humidity. At least you don't have to worry about that. :lol:

It probably withstood around 10F but on a raised bed in loamy, not clayey soil. Still my winters have to be almost as bad as your in terms of wetness (you're in the driest PNW microclimate right?) so I think you'd have a good shot at it.

BTW - Annie's pics of it had me sick jealous. It's very spectacular for something almost zn 7 hardy.

Re: Lessertia (Sutherlandia) montana

Postby ben21 » Wed Jun 22, 2011 8:19 pm

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I can't say I have any experience with that plant, but for you being in the Olympic rain shadow, I'd say it's certainly worth a shot. Have you tried a Clianthus, though? Being NZ plants, they might be better adapted to our weather than the Lessertia and they do look fairly similar in the leaf structure and the "lobster claw"-like blossoms.

http://plantlust.com/search/#/raw=Clianthus

Re: Lessertia (Sutherlandia) montana

Postby Vlad Pomajzl » Thu Jun 23, 2011 8:28 am

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Wow. An interesting plant. I tried the similarly-looking Clianthus but it was not hardy and froze during the first winter out (unprotected).

Re: Lessertia (Sutherlandia) montana

Postby Palmlover » Thu Jun 23, 2011 10:22 am

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Clianthus has been grown in Oregon and does very well. The one I had only lasted a few years, flowers are bigger and more of a dusty pink color. The tallest I ever saw one was 5' tall.

I like the look of Lessertia better, love those red lobster claw like flowers. :lol:

Re: Lessertia (Sutherlandia) montana

Postby Thestales » Thu Jun 23, 2011 10:55 am

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geez, Ian you always manage to find those "highly exciting" Plants.

Re: Lessertia (Sutherlandia) montana

Postby Ian in Sequim » Thu Jun 23, 2011 11:02 pm

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I have been aware of this plant for a long time as it is pictured in Phillips and Rix Indoor and Greenhouse Plants vol 1 (published in the 90s I believe)... these books are full of great photos of awesome plants if you can find them anymore! Well it sounds like there isn't much experience with it so now is our chance to find out. They're about an inch tall now :D

Clianthus is certainly cool... I should try it again. I think I recall it as not being hardy below about 16-18F or so. But still fun to grow and likes our climate. Sutherlandia is easy to grow as well, at least it seemed that way the first time I grew it years ago (I think I actually had S. microphylla... I can't even remember!)

Oh, and you may be right about Rob occupying a different space-time continuum. I saw him in February and he didn't seem to have aged a day in the 11? years since I saw him before! I think he's living in West Seattle.

Re: Lessertia (Sutherlandia) montana

Postby dave_olympia » Mon Feb 13, 2012 10:15 pm

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Hi Ian,

I saw this plant in Annie's Annuals catalog today and found your post. Wondering how your seeds did after you posted and how easy/hard they were to germinate.

Thanks

Re: Lessertia (Sutherlandia) montana

Postby davidmdzn7 » Tue Feb 14, 2012 2:13 am

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If they are fresh, they are easy to germinate. There is some disagreement about this, but at the very least they need a warm water soak. I have actually thown them into a small glass of just boiled water (ca. 99C) and they germinated very well, but some consider this too harsh.

BTW perhaps even more spectacular is Sesbania. I'm only ordering from a couple nurseries this spring - the anxiety caused by last summer's drought and heatwave has me spooked...I could lose my mind if I have to go through watering 100 rhododendrons spread over 2 acres again. (If I bought a bunch of Agaves, I'd have another summer like 2006 when there were 11 inches of rain in July!) I plan to plant it deep on a south wall and hope for a miracle. At the very least, it is a weed on the Gulf Coast and won't have the problem with my summer heat & humidity that Lessertia montana did. That species comes from very high in the Drakensberg where the summers are at least as mild as yours and, even more sickeningly, blessed with plentiful but brief rain showers.

Re: Lessertia (Sutherlandia) montana

Postby dave_olympia » Tue Feb 14, 2012 9:45 pm

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Thank you david,
I'd like to try this one but not $15 for one plant. The seeds appear to be available from one nursery in England. B&T World Seeds also appears to have them but at a very high price - 9 euros for 50 seeds, which is overkill for me. That company sure does have a large inventory though, I've been thinking about placing an order for some other stuff.

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