South African Flowers and Plants
With so many similarities in climate it no wonder that many South African Flowers, Plants and bulbs from South Africa are well suited to growing in Australian conditions. We could start with the Protea, closely related to our own Waratah, both belong to the Proteaceae family and both are excellent flowering plants used widely in Australian Gardens. And if we dig deep enough we can trace the origins of both back in time to when the two continents were one.
Many other noteworthy garden plants and bulbs have their origins in South Africa. Clivia, with those wonderful flowers originally come from the Cape area. Yes thay are named after an English Lady ‘Lady Clive’ and yes they have been hybridised in Belgium, China and Japan but their home is elsewhere.
Many other Amaryllidaceae are from south Africa as well, Brunsvigia, Cytranthus and if we go to Northern Africa even Narcissus (what we know as Daffodils). But what about Morea, a spectacular flowering bulb that has not recieved the ‘fame’ of the daffodil or tulip, but is a wonderful flowering plant for Australian conditions.
We also have orchids such as Stenoglottis longifolia, Disa uniflora and Satyrium carneum, just 3 of over 400 species from the region. And what about Geissorhiza, Ixia, Gladiolus, Spiloxene, or maybe Daubenya and Massonia which are rarely seen in Australia.
Yes we mentioned Gladiolus, Dame Edna made us feel as though these were our own flowers, however many of these originated from the Cape region. We also have succulents, Aloes, Euphorbias, Stapelias and Crassulas, we know these, but what about Lithops or ‘Living Stones’ where do these fit in.
So why do we grow so few of these south African plants in Australian gardens ? Old habits die hard, nurseries just can’t make a dollar from them or are we just a little behind the times?
Try exploring the world of South African flowering plants and bulbs, you may well be in for a few surprises.
Interested in South African Flowers ?