Flowers the colour of autumn

When we think of autumn, we mainly think of changing foliage – all those reds and russets and oranges. There are also the mauve and pink asters, bright red hesperanthas (that used to be schizostylis), and the startling pink nerines. Orange flowers are a bit in short supply but here is a little bulbous perennial with blooms to match the season.


Oxalis massoniana hails from South Africa, a country with getting on for half the worldwide species of this plant  Many are endemic, growing nowhere else in the world, but seem amenable to garden culture (some making themselves too much at home!). In its native environment, oxalis massoniana grows in sandy clay pockets on a barren mountain plateau that receives winter rain but is drier during the summer months. The flowers open fully in the sun. In the garden, a spot in well-drained soil, on the south side of a deciduous shrub, would give it precisely the conditions it needs.

Although successfully grown in New Zealand, it only reached the UK in 2000, but with our climate changing, oxalis massoniana may soon become more commonly seen in our gardens.


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